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Constitutional court Ruling: Age Limit legal; extending parliament’s term illegal

In a 4 – 1 Majority ruling, Constitutional Court uphold removal of the Presidential Age Limit from the Constitution. Justices Remmy Kasule, Cheborion Barishaki, Elizabeth Musoke and Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo all ruled that the amendment for presidential age limit was constitutional. Only Justice Kenneth Kakuru declared the entire act null and void.

All five judges also declared extension of MPs’ and Local Government council’s tenure from five to seven years null and void.

Kakuru descents

In his descenting judgment in regards age limit amendment, Justice Kenneth Kakuru said that the MPs consulted very few people, a size which was   not representative of the actual number of voters as registered by the Electoral Commission during the previous 2016 elections.

“There was no enough evidence that people of Uganda participated in these amendments. The evidence is too insignificant to constitute a meaningful participation of the people,” he ruled.

“Having said all that, I declare that the entire amendment was unconstitutional and should be declared null and void,” Justice Kakuru ruled before awarding costs to petitioners.

Annul seven years term

The panel of five judges unanimously agreed that it was wrong for the Members of Parliament to extend parliament’s tenure from five to seven years.

“These were unprecedented amendments through which people ought to have been consulted. Extending the term parliament and amounted to a fragrant breach of social contract,” Justice Barishaki said.

“It amounted to an attempt by parliament to override the power of the people and the same was null and void.

The judges explained that Members of Parliament ought to have extended the tenure of parliament through a referendum because this was a crucial matter that need the public’s participation.

According to the panel of judges, overrode powers granted to it by the constitution and subsequently overtook the powers of the citizens.

““No submission was given that the extension was done in national interest. It was selfish and goes against principal of good governance,” Justice Barishaki said.

The no nonsense Justice Kenneth Kakuru described the legislators as being selfish when they unlawfully extended their tenure from five to seven years.

“If we go by what happened, it would mean that parliament would every five years extend its terms without holding an election and this is what Idi Amin did by declaring himself life president and parliament,”Kakuru ruled.

The Deputy Chief Justice added, “Court declares sections 2,4,6,9,10 in regards to  extension of tenure of parliament and recitation of term limits unconstitutional and are struck out.”

Army storming parliament

The judges ruled that the army’s storming of the August House can’t be condemned on anyone apart from the legislators themselves for their behavior.

“The army would not have come if MPs had acted properly. They invited it on themselves by creating an environment that precipitated the army’s involvement,” ruled Justice Kakuru.

Justice Kasule said, “A number of MPs conducted themselves without the necessary expected restraint they have themselves to blame for the scuffle at parliament.”

However, Justice Barishaki said that despite justification of its involvement in the proceedings at parliament, the army acted inhumanely towards legislators.

“The speaker’s directive was for removing them(MPs)  from parliament but not to detain them.Their arrest and detention was uncalled for .They (army) used excessive force and treatment of MPs was inhuman,” Justice Barishaki ruled.

Related:

Age limit petition hearing starts today

Age limit hearing: Lawyer Mabirizi stuns judges

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