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Age limit litigants wanted in court

KAMPALA. The registrar of the Constitutional Court has sent out notices, inviting all parties involved in the three petitions seeking to annul the age limit law to come for their median court reading.

According to the notice of the court issued out by Esta Nambayo, the invited parties are to meet the Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, next week on Tuesday.
The petitioners are; the Uganda Law Society, six opposition MPs and a city lawyer, Mr Male Mabirizi.

The Attorney General who is the respondent in the three petitions is equally invited.

The parties are expected to have a scheduling conferencing, a session where parties agree on some facts and the sticky ones are then forwarded before a full Bench of five justices for hearing

To avoid multiplicity of petitions challenging the scrapping of the 75-upper cap of candidates to contest for presidency, the court may consolidate the three petitions into one petition since they are all about one issue.

Briefly, the Law Society in its petition filed in January this year, lists nine grounds on which they want court to base on to annul the age limit Act.

The petition is supported by affidavits of the ULS president, Mr Francis Gimara, Prof Frederick Ssempebwa and Prof Ogenga Latigo.

Following the constitutional amendment, now anybody aged above 18 can contest for presidency, a prized position previously ring-fenced for persons above 35 years but below 75 years old.

The Act also extended the tenure of the current Parliament and the local government councils from five years to seven.

The tenure of the President was also expanded from five to seven years but this has to be first subjected to a referendum.

The petitioners say the implication of the amendment will see the Electoral Commission holding elections in 2021 and 2023, which move they say is unconstitutional and expensive to the country.

Likewise, six opposition MPs led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ms Winfred Kiiza, are equally challenging the scrapping of the age limit clause from the constitution.

Core to their petition is that they will adduce evidence at the hearing to show that the events and process leading to and the actual enactment of the purported constitution (Amendment) Act, 2017 were inconsistent with the Constitution.

The aggrieved MPs are; Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Jonathan Odur (Erute County), Mubarak Munyagwa (Kawempe South), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality).

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