Uganda’s ruling party has backed its leader of over three decades, Yoweri Museveni, to run for a sixth term as president in 2021, it said on Wednesday.
The National Resistance Movement “resolved to applaud the leadership of [Museveni], and to recommend him to the general Membership of the Movement to continue leading us into 2021 and beyond,” the party wrote on Twitter.
Museveni, 74, has been in power since 1986, and in 2018 made the highly controversial move of extending presidential term limits that could now see him remain in power until 2030.
Museveni has been criticised by rights groups for clamping down on opposition and stifling freedom of expression and association in the East African nation.
Opposition politician and popstar Bobi Wine, 37, has been a thorn in the side of the increasingly unpopular president in recent years and is a favourite of Ugandan youth.
He was arrested 2018 on treason charges and says he was tortured in detention.
The resolution was adopted at a retreat for top party officials chaired by Museveni.
The move comes after a bill was signed in December 2017 scrapping a presidential age limit of 75, which would have blocked Museveni from running again, sparking demonstrations and an outcry from the opposition which accused the president of seeking to rule for life.
The constitutional court in July 2018 ruled in favour of removing the limit.
Last month Uganda’s Supreme Court began hearing a petition to challenge this decision.
Museveni, who seized power at the head of a rebel army in 1986, once said leaders who “overstayed” were the root of Africa’s problems.
However, while running for a fifth term in 2016, he said it was not the right time for him to leave, as he still had work to do.