Petitioners Ask Supreme Court to Nullify Age Limit Law
Petitioners in the consolidated Age Limit Appeal have asked the Supreme Court to restore the age limit clauses in the Ugandan constitution, saying they were illegally removed. They are Male Mabirizi, six opposition members of parliament and Uganda Law Society.
They ran to the Supreme Court in September 2018 challenging the verdict of a panel of four Justices of the Constitutional Court upholding a decision of parliament scrapping the age limit for the presidential and LC V chairperson candidates.
On Tuesday, the petitioners told a panel of seven Supreme Court justices led by the Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe that there were irregularities in the conceptualization and passing of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017, which paved way for scrapping the age limit from the constitution.
The other members are Justices Jotham Tumwesigye, Paul Mugamba, Opio Aweri, David Mwangutsya, Stella Arach Amoko and Lillian Tibatemwa.
In their application, the appellants noted that the irregularities included violence exhibited at parliament, which resulted into the suspension and assault of legislators.
The petitioners are represented by lawyers Erias Lukwago, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Dan Wandera Ogalo and Male Mabirizi who is representing himself.
They maintain that the decision to scrap the age limit is similar to the actions of the late President of Uganda Idi Amin who declared himself life President and abolished general elections before he was overthrown.
The appellants noted that the preamble of the constitution of Uganda talks about the principles of unity, equality, democracy and social justice amongst other pillars was never observed by parliament.
The parties also argued that the entire process leading to the enactment of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 2017 was illegal because the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga submitted documents to President Yoweri Museveni with an invalid certificate of Financial Implication, which was backdated.
The appellants also fault President Museveni of deliberately assenting to the law without due diligence, since it lacked the required attachments.
The matter will return to court on January 16th, 2019 to allow the Attorney General make his submission on behalf of government.
The Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Deputy Mwesigwa Rukutana and the Solicitor General Francis Atoke followed the proceedings in court with a team of more than 15 senior lawyers.