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Why Museveni could be the next ‘Methuselah’ of African presidency

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni is now in line to become Africa’s longest serving African Head of State following last week’s ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court to uphold the removal of the 75-age ceiling for any aspiring president.

The same court also quashed a bid by lawmakers to extend the term of Parliament from five years to seven.

In the judgement, the five justices ruled on a 4:1 majority that MP’s followed the law in amending Article 102(b) of the Constitution that removed the age limit on presidency and allowed Museveni to run for re-election as many times as he so wishes.

Had the Courts ruled otherwise, Museveni, who has ruled the East African country since taking power by force in 1986, would have stepped down from office in 2021.

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To this point, the 73-year-old president, who has not been publicly heard discussing his retirement plans, currently ranks third on the list of the continent’s long serving Heads of State.

Only Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang (38 years) and Cameroon’s Paul Biya (35) have been in office longer than Museveni.

Biya, 86, who like Museveni oversaw the removal of presidential term limits in 2008, has already announced he will be seeking re-election for a seventh-five year term.

Likewise, Obiang, who ousted his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema in a military coup in 1979, is showing no signs of going into retirement.

Other long serving presidents in Africa are Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir, who has been at the helm for 28 years, Chad’s Idriss Deby (27), Eritrea’s Isaias Afewerki (24) and Congo’s Denis Sassou Ngueso (20).