Christian leaders have been drawn into a debate about whether Uganda’s constitution should be changed to clear the way for President Yoweri Museveni to stand for another term in office.

Museveni has been the country’s president since 1986. The Ugandan constitution requires that the president be in the age range of 35 to 75. Museveni, age 73, will be ineligible to stand in the next election, scheduled for 2121.

Moves are afoot to change the constitution, and this is causing division between clergy and bishops joining the debate.

Archbishop John Baptist Odama, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, is unequivocal: “Those who are planning to change the constitution are ruining the peace of Ugandans when we want a peaceful transition of power.”

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Two Anglican bishops have opposed the constitutional change. “I do not support removal of the age limit,” said the Rt. Rev. Dan Zoreka, Bishop of Kinkizi. “We have been waiting to see President Museveni hand over power peacefully. Changing the constitution is not good for the stability and peace of Uganda.”

The Rt. Rev. Reuben Kisembo, Bishop of Ruwenzori, said that lifting age limits would be synonymous with locking out other potential leaders. He argued that Uganda has many qualified people who could be president, and therefore there was no pressing need to change the constitution.

John Martin

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