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We’ll rule on age limit petition without fear or favour - Owiny-Dollo

Hearing of a petition challenging the removal presidential age limits from the Constitution has commenced today in Mbale - with the deputy chief justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo warning that his court will rule on the matter without fear or favour. 

A panel of five judges led by Owiny-Dollo is hearing the petition at Mbale High court. The other justices on the bench include; Remmy Kasule, Elizabeth Musoke, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru.

Deputy chief justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

The petitioner, Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka, a lawyer, is challenging the actions of parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee for what he calls smuggling into the Constitution Amendment (No2) Bill 2017 items concerning the extension of the term of parliament from five to seven years and restoration of presidential term limits.

On December 20, 2017, parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment Act, 2017 effectively removing presidential age limits provided for under Article 102(b) of the Constitution.

In the same amendment, parliament removed age limits for local government leaders, restored presidential term limits which had been removed in September 2005 and extended the term of Office of the President and parliament from five to seven years. 

Mabirizi contends that none of these items were in the original bill as presented and sent to the committee, neither were they presented before it in form of any memoranda by the people interviewed.

Mabirizi also challenging the decision by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to waive the rule requiring a minimum of three days from the tabling of a committee report on a bill before the report could be debated by parliament.

He also says the speaker should have given every MP a chance to debate the bill. Only 124 of the 451 legislators debated the bill.

At today's full-house hearing the first point of contention was on whether Kadaga should be summoned by court as requested by the petitioners to give her reasons for allowing the amendment of the Constitution without following proper rules and procedure. 

The deputy attorney general Mwesigwa Rukutana, who represented the respondents said that the speaker and her actions on the floor of parliament are immune to prosecution. However the petitioners argued that the only person granted immunity by the Constitution is the president. 

Justice Owiny-Dollo adjourned the hearing to afternoon when court will pronounce itself on the matter.

He said the Constitutional court will determine itself on this "very important matter" expeditiously and doesn't expect politicisation of the court process. He said this particular case of "public interest" and the whole country is waiting in anticipation for court's decision. 

A survey that was conducted before the age limit voting titled; Citizen's Perceptions on the Proposed Amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution, revealed that 85 per cent of Ugandans were opposed the presidential age limits removal.

Owiny-Dollo said since politicisation was done elsewhere without any success, his court will determine the matter without fear or favour. He said as judicial officers they determine justice without fear of the consequences of their ruling because there's no person above court and their cardinal role is to uphold and protect the Constitution.

Likewise, Justice Kakuru said the matter before the Constitutional court affects all Ugandans born and not yet born and hence will be granted the utmost importance that it deserves. Justice Barishaki said the problem of being a judge is that their opinions can never be heard as they can't participate in debates on social media like everybody else but said people should be mindful of the "silent" judges. 

Even on the very first day of the hearing, Justice Owiny-Dollo asked those who will be uncomfortable with the court's ruling later, to be ready to appeal the decision in a court higher than the Constitutional court. 

During a victory bash in Kiboga earlier this year, President Yoweri Museveni, the most likely immediate beneficiary of the age limit removal, said the 317 MPs who amended the Constitution were "heroes" who averted catastrophic consequences for the country. 


+1 #11 Lakwena 2018-04-10 10:59
Quoting kabayekka:
What is this NRM cadre judge saying anyway.

At the end of this case there will be loosers and winners in the establishment of an ammendment to this African constitution.

Kabayekka, I want to concur with your predicament.

Prove me wrong, after Justice Kavuma's exit from the DJ Office, Mr. M7 made sure he is replaced by an unsuspected moderate Luciferian Judge.

In other words, as the embattled Boda 2010 Chairman, Kitata once told off his victim of land-grabbing, "power is more important than the law".
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0 #12 Akot 2018-04-10 18:38
Quoting Odongkara:
85% of citizens opposed to age limit bull removal, 317 MPs voted for age limit bill removal and baptized heroes by the beneficiary president Museveni.

... how will our dear learned judges do their job without fear and favour when the beneficiary is their employer?

I surely have genuine fear that for the reality of keeping their jobs the judges will never pass a judgment against their employer.


Is Akot wrong in asking Ugandans to UNITE & bring down museveni?
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0 #13 ejakait engoraton 2018-04-10 18:47
LYSOL, with all due respect, cadre appointments do not come any better than Ladit OWINY.

MOSt people saw his appointment to replace KAVUMA as a pan to the fire, in that he is more likely going to be more eager to please the appointing authority than Kavuma was, and as is evident, he was not appointed purely on merit as it can be argued that Kasule and Egonda were more experienced and senior , but have made judgements that have not pleased the authority.
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0 #14 Akot 2018-04-10 19:32
kusasila obadi, understood, but,

It's only 'the people' who have the power to force those in posts to do the right things!

As it is, all those in posts do their best-stay quiet... to ensure they are not thrown out by the owner of the country, museveni!

Power belongs to "the people" but it's the opposit in Uganda where it's museveni alone has power & is free to do as she wishes!

What will the situation be when the demon is assured of complete control of Uganda?
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0 #15 Akot 2018-04-10 19:52
Jama, understood, but,

Judges' hands are tied: it's only "the people of Uganda" who have the power to say NO in UNITY! Those in posts will assure their posts, as mps did by diverting attention from age limit to thier term of office!

Just as tribal leaders are quet & unconcerned about what goes on!

But without UNITY against museveni, there is still 1 hope for change:

*The army can become the people's & not museveni's personal force of fear/terror museveni uses to make sure Ugandans remain afraid & just go along with him!

Ugandans don't want to UNITE but the army can bring down the demon & force Ugandans to decide as to what they want next!

Zimbabweans were so afraid-sick-starved-surrendered to abuse...but the army freed them by locking Mugabe down!

Will musveni blow off Uganda if the army locks him down?
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0 #16 Akot 2018-04-10 19:55
sn, agreed, but,

Ugandans have not UNITED against museveni & come out to make their statement & the tribalistic system is firmly installed!

So the dictator will just go on while the outside worldwtaches the drama in Uganda & asking why Ugandans go along with such abuse in peace & without opposition leadership!
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0 #17 Akot 2018-04-10 19:59
kabayekka, understood, but,

The judge's hands are tied because it's not "the people of Uganda" but museveni who has authority/power & will have the last world!

Ugandans MUST make the country theirs & not museveni's, then this will stop ALL trying to find mercy with the dictator to keep their jobs/posts...while the dictator just goes on!
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0 #18 Akot 2018-04-10 20:14
Lakwena, agreed.

As long as museveni is on, there will never be any thing good for Ugandans because no official will risk losing his job/post knowing there is nothing Ugandans are doing to throw out the demon!

We are a very dangerous people to ourselves: who is keeping museveni in power with tax money in time & inpeace?

Even Kony prefered setting fire on villages in Acholiland-killing animals-burning down huts...before running out of the country to teach Acholi for not siding with him!

Kony wanted to be protector of Ugandans, yet cannot even protect Acholi & keep them safe from museveni on the point of owning every triballand!

Tribal leaders are so quiet unconcerned about what's going on! Why will museevni need them in posts when he completes conquest?
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0 #19 WADADA rogers 2018-04-11 08:59
I dont think the petitioners will get justice in this case, the government is determined to have somethings done in its favour
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0 #20 AGUDA DENIS 2018-04-18 15:50
If the five panel of Judges who are hearing this case can emulate the spirit of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God and accept to be crucified and die on the cross as Jesus did, they can judge this case without fear or favor.
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