Kampala- Lawyers under their professional body of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) have asked President Museveni to refrain from making statements that undermine the independence of the Judiciary.
The lawyers were reacting to President Museveni’s recent bashing of the justices of the Constitutional Court for nullifying the extension of the term of Parliament from five years to seven.
“These sorts of remarks undermine the independence of the Judiciary and reduce public confidence in the courts and ultimately, the efficacy of the rule of law in Uganda,” a statement signed off by their president, Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, reads in part.
Last week, President Museveni in a statement posted on the State House website, described as “nonsense”, the Constitutional Court decision to nullify extension of the MPs’ term and castigated the judges for focusing on form and procedure rather than substance.
Mr Museveni also stated that the judges are not the ones in charge of this country and if the ruling NRM MPs follow his guidelines, they will harmonise and galvanise their position on this “undemocratic age limit nonsense’
“Unfortunately, our judges in Uganda spend more time on form and not substance, on procedure and not substance. With the five years, a lot of time is spent on electioneering and less time on development; the first two years settling in, the third year some work in the constituency and, then, by the fourth year, electioneering again,” the President said.
The lawyers said President Museveni and other parties aggrieved with the age limit judgment should appeal the decision before the Supreme Court.
On July 26, the Constitutional Court sitting in Mbale District on a 4-1 majority judgment, upheld the amendment of the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit that had previously, barred any persons above the age of 75 to contest for office of presidency.
However, the five justices unanimously, nullified the extension of the term of parliament, saying it was unconstitutional because the legislators did not seek or obtain people’s consent on the issue.
The justices were; Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Remmy Kasule, Kenneth Kakuru, Elizabeth Musoke and Cheborion Barishaki.
Only Justice Kakuru dissented on the endorsement of the scrapping of the age limit clause from the Constitution.