Ibrahim Abiriga, a leading politician from Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, was shot dead Friday along with his bodyguard, police said.
Abiriga, known for wearing all-yellow suits and driving around in a yellow VW Beetle — the colour of President Yoweri Museveni’s NRM party — was “assassinated this evening near his home in Kawanda,” north of the capital, Kampala, by “unknown assailants,” police chief Okoth Ochola tweeted.
Abiriga, 62, was MP for the Arua municipality in the north west of the country. He was a also a key supporter of a reform bill adopted last December to scrap the presidential age limit of 75 years.
The move was seen as a bid to pave the way for Museveni — who has been president since 1986 and is currently 73 — to seek a sixth term in power.
As part of the mooted reform, the number of terms a president can serve would be limited to just two. But that part of the reform would only come into effect after the next election, meaning Museveni could run for two more terms.
Museveni responded to the news of Abiriga’s murder on Twitter, saying: “I have received news about the senseless killing of Arua Municipality MP, Hon Ibrahim Abiriga, and his bodyguard on the city’s outskirts.
“I have tasked security agencies to expeditiously find these killers and the nation will be updated soon. May Hon Abiriga’s soul rest in peace.”
Museveni, a veteran former rebel leader who seized power in 1986, ending years of brutal and murderous rule under Idi Amin and Milton Obote, once said leaders who “overstayed” in power were the root of Africa’s problems.
However, he successfully changed the constitution in 2005 abolishing a two-term limit, and has since gone back and forth on the age requirement.
In March 2017, the spokesman for Uganda’s police, Andrew Kawessi, was murdered along with two other officers in his car outside his home in Kampala. The case has not been solved.
In March 2015, Joan Kagezi, a director in Uganda’s public ministry in charge of investigating the jihadist attack in Kampala in 2010, was shot dead by men on motorbikes as she returned home.