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Updated: Supreme court quashes age limit appeal

Supreme court justices

Supreme court justices

The seven member panel of Supreme court judges has quashed the consolidated presidential age limit appeal in a 4-3 verdict. 

Four judges including the chief justice, Bart Katureebe, Jotham Tumwesigye, Rubby Opio Aweri and Stella Arach Amoko quashed the appeal in their judgments delivered separately.

Those who allowed the appeal are justices Paul Mugamba, Eldad Mwangusya and Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza. 

The consolidated appeal stemmed from applications by city lawyer, Male Mabirizi, six opposition members of parliament and Uganda Law Society challenging the decision of the Constitutional court to uphold the approval of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017, which paved way for scrapping of the presidential age limit.

The petitioners ran to the Constitutional court citing various flaws in the approval of the bill that scrapped the presidential age limit to allow President Yoweri Museveni who will have clocked 75-years of age to seek re-election in the 2021 polls. The Constitutional court upheld the amendment, forcing the the petitioners to seek redress in the Supreme court. 

The four judges who upheld the amendment maintained that the lower court didn't err in law and facts when it upheld that the removal of presidential age limits was done in conformity with the law. Justice Tumwesigye noted that the certificate of compliance which was attached to Bill had format but lacked content and this could not mean that the entire Bill was enacted unlawfully.

He explained that the laws that had earlier been passed illegally including the extension of the MPs term of office to seven years was scrapped off by the lower court and this couldn’t render the whole process unlawful. 

He argued that he had looked at the evidence from the parliament hansard showing that the MPs were given Shs 29 million for consultation and the feedback on the floor of parliament was that they indeed did the consultations. 

Quoting the Lira district Woman MP, justice Tumwesigye said that the evidence showed that she was given money to do consultations in her district and about 6,000 voters turned up. However, police reportedly disrupted them with teargas. In his view; Tumwesigye stated that consultations were done.

Unanimously, the four justices said that the Shs 29 million was not withdrawn from the consolidated fund as raised by the petitioners. They state that the money was reportedly got from the Parliamentary budget. 

The justices also found out that although the raid by the army and assault on the legislators was uncalled for, the legislators who had been allegedly assaulted were supported to seek compensation and file complaints against their attackers in the courts of law. 

The justices thus dismissed the application with orders that each party bears its own costs in since this was a public interest issue.  Justice Katureebe who led the justices also dismissed the application without giving reasons since he was reportedly unwell to read the entire judgment. 

Justice Katureebe delegated justice Mwangusya to read the summary on his behalf.  

DISSENTING JUDGES

Three justices; Mugamba, Mwangusya and Tibatemwa differed from their colleagues. They argued that the citizens were never consulted adding that the evidence from parliament indicated that most of the MPs were never given ample time to debate the matter.

They explained that out of the 462 MPs, less than 200 consulted their electorate, which implies that the entire process was rushed by parliament. 

The Justices also noted that it was illegal for the speaker of parliament to include the Bill on the order paper yet the day it was tabled, it was not part of what was earlier been for discussion by parliament. 

The three justices also unanimously ruled that they could not maintain an illegality since they understand clearly that the decision taken by parliament was taking them back to the sad history of Uganda.  

Comments

0 #11 kabayekka 2019-04-20 00:12
What is wrong with our comments Editor of Observer?
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+1 #12 kabayekka 2019-04-20 08:36
The honourable members who framed the recent constitution of Uganda should have done the same to uphold the elderly members of society to stand for leadership during the (1990/2000) when the late Dr Obote wanted to make a come back a third time to participate in competitive democratic elections in this country.

He was over 75 years old and the N.R Movement did not like that. Now that most of the former older Presidents of this country have died, it is very clear to the honourable judges where their interests lay.

It is high time the Opposition stopped blaming the electorate of Uganda and started blaming themselves for helping to uphold an African Dictatorship by the Rule of Law.
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-1 #13 Karemire 2019-04-20 22:17
Quoting Odongkara:
Stella Arach Amoko you and Owiny Dollo are our northern Uganda judases.

May the River Nile sort you for the pain you have inflicted upon us all.

THREATENING THE JUDGES, Ha? I understand your frustration BUT that cannot be the civilized way that your educated fellow northerners stand out for.
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0 #14 Odongkara 2019-04-22 15:25
Quoting Karemire:
Quoting Odongkara:
Stella Arach Amoko you and Owiny Dollo are our northern Uganda judases.

May the River Nile sort you for the pain you have inflicted upon us all.


THREATENING THE JUDGES, Ha? I understand your frustration BUT that cannot be the civilized way that your educated fellow northerners stand out for.


Leave Northerners to Northerners you don't have any right to respond to.

Look at the most corrupt Ugandans and tell me from which region they come from and you will understand why I am taking on my fellows from the north.

Going by our culture traitors are cursed my friend. Leave us do our thing the way we know.
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0 #15 Akot 2019-04-22 17:17
kabayekka, agreed.

Either tribal leaders stand down & Ugandans UNITE & NOW, or Independent Triabl States MUST be formed to ensure;

- Musevnei is OUT,

- NO more mps payed for doing nothing for constituencies.

- Supreme Court/Parliament won't have to waste time on a dictator's age.

Have Ugandans not had enough of museveni museveni...?
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0 #16 Lakwena 2019-04-23 08:19
What does it benefit a man/woman if he/she gains he whole world but loses his/her soul (Matt 16:26).

In other words, the four Judges have taken the side of the oppressors.

Because of the long term ripple effects, this is villainy at its best, which makes judicial manipulation as an injustice and the worse crime on earth.

Emmanuel Kant (1949), said: “… the coolness of a villain makes him not only far more dangerous, but also more directly abominable in our eye than he would have seemed without it"

In other words, in the final analysis, the coolness with which the 4 Justices delivered sledge hammer blows in their ruling; is chilling and blood curdling for the future of this country.
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0 #17 Concerned Ugandan 2019-04-23 14:51

Leave Northerners to Northerners you don't have any right to respond to.
Look at the most corrupt Ugandans and tell me from which region they come from and you will understand why I am taking on my fellows from the north.
Going by our culture traitors are cursed my friend. Leave us do our thing the way we know.

My brother (or sister) Odongkara do not give in to the tendency to ascribe the ills in this country to a particular group of people.

For every one corrupt person from a particular region there are probably several others from the same region that frown on their deeds. Let us maintain an individual-based focus on wrongdoing.

Let us not make the mistakes of our brothers and sisters next door in Rwanda 1994. I feel your anger considering that Northern Uganda has paid many times over mistakes of a few but I urge you to be the better person and view this problem not as tribal but one of selected individuals.
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