MPs list 11 grounds to appeal age limit ruling

Kampala- The age limit battle has gone to the Supreme Court with six Opposition Members of Parliament, pleading with Chief Justice Bart Katureebe to annul the entire age limit Act, saying the country is now in his hands.

The MPs, led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ms Winfred Kiiza, list 11 grounds to support their appeal.

They are dissatisfied with the majority decision of the Constitutional Court that endorsed the removal of the presidential age limit clause Article 102(b) from the Constitution, paving way for President Museveni to contest in the next polls if he so wishes.

“Take notice that the petitioners in the constitutional petition No 5 of 2018 being dissatisfied with part of the decisions and orders of their lordships, delivered at the Constitutional Court sitting at Mbale on July 26 intend to appeal against part of the decisions,” the notice of appeal reads in part.

During a press conference in Kampala yesterday, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who represents the MPs, told Chief Justice Bart Katureebe that their decision in the pending appeal will either “make” or “break” the country.

“Our last hope is in the Supreme Court. This is the call we are making to the Chief Justice. It is a very big test to the Judiciary,” Mr Lukwago said.

“We made our submissions before the Constitutional Court that Ugandans were let down by Cabinet and Parliament.

We made a humble appeal to the court to salvage this country but we came out more disappointed. The choice is yours [Supreme Court] now whether to help this country get on course of constitutionalism, rule of law or you sanction violence,” he added.

Other MPs are Gerald Karuhanga, Jonathan Odur, Mubarak Munyagwa, Allan Ssewanyana and Ibrahim Ssemujju.

Speaking to this newspaper this week, the Chief Justice refrained himself from commenting on the Mbale judgment, saying he might find himself having a conflict of interest since he might be on the Bench, hearing the appeal.

Last Thursday, the Constitutional Court in a 4-1 majority judgment, upheld the amendment of the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit.

However, the five justices unanimously nullified the extension of the term of Parliament from five years to seven, saying it was unconstitutional because the MPs did not seek or obtain people’s consent.

The MPs also hailed Justice Kenneth Kakuru who had a dissenting judgment and Remmy Kasule for their elaborate constitutional history background of the country in their respective judgments.

The filing of the appeal before the Supreme Court comes days after another petitioner in the Mbale judgment, Mr Male Mabirizi, lodged the first appeal last week.

Mr Lukwago also warned the MPs from being duped again by the President that they can re-table and pass the law to extend their stay in Parliament.

“I want to draw the MPs attention to Article 92 of the Constitution, which provides as follows: Parliament shall not pass any law to alter the decision of the court.

I heard this statement by President Museveni that they can start the process afresh, regardless of what the court have said. It is absolutely impossible,” Mr Lukwago said.

He also criticised Mr Museveni for blasting the justices for declining to approve the extension of the MPs’ term.

“Mr Museveni immediately after the judgment was issued, gave out a very unpalatable statement and in our own assessment, it was intended to blackmail the Supreme Court.

If he was dissatisfied with the judgment like us, he should have appealed as a party or as friend of court, but not resorting to lambasting judges,” Mr Lukwago said.

The President said the extension of the term focuses more on the convenience of seven years instead of five.

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