December 20, 2017 / 10:49 AM / a month ago

Ugandan police detain lawmakers as scuffles mar debate over Museveni rule

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Two Ugandan lawmakers were dragged away and detained when they tried to enter parliament on Wednesday, as a divisive debate on extending President Yoweri Museveni’s rule was marred by violence for a second day.

Police blocked some legislators from entering the building, and live television footage showed two of them being driven away in security vehicles.

Both oppose the bill that would remove an age cap of 75 years on presidential candidates, thereby allowing Museveni to extend his 31-year rule of the oil-rich East African nation.

It was unclear why the lawmakers were detained, and police did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

The legislators blocked by police were attempting to enter parliament to serve court documents on House speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who was presiding over the debate.

The document called on her to appear in court at 2:00 PM in respect of “the irregular suspension of our members of parliament,” independent lawmaker Wilfred Niwagaba told a local television station minutes before he was detained.

Six MPs -- all opposed to removal of the age cap - were suspended from parliamentary proceedings on Monday for alleged disorderly conduct and refusing to heed the speaker’s instructions.

A debate on the bill was adjourned for several hours on Tuesday after some legislators said soldiers had entered parliament.

Uganda’s next presidential election is scheduled for 2021.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema, editing by Katharine Houreld and John Stonestreet

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