Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Constitutional Court Okays Age Limit Amendment, Reverses MPs’ 7 Year Term

Constitutional Court sitting in Mbale on Thursday delivered the ruling on the Age Limit Petition.

The court upheld the amendment of article 102 (b) of the constitution to lift the lower and upper presidential age limit.

Parliament had in December 2017 passed the age limit bill after 317 MPs voted in favour of the motion and only 97 members voted against while two legislators declined to vote.

President Museveni went on to sign the bill into law.

The judgment lasted over 12 hours with each judge giving their own verdict.

Four out of the five judges upheld the removal of the age limit of the President and district chairpersons.

Justices Cheboriono Barishaki, Elizabeth Musoke, Kenneth Kakuru and deputy chief justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo in favour of the amendment.

“Court declares removal of age limit for president and LC5 are valid and passed,” deputy chief justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo ruled.

However, Justice Kenneth Kakuru ruled against the entire Constitutional Amendment Act, arguing that Parliament defied its own rules while passing the law and did not carry out the necessary consultation with the public.

Justice Kakuru noted that the Members of Parliament consulted very few people, a size which was  not representative of the actual number of voters as registered by the Electoral Commission during the previous 2016 elections.

“There was no enough evidence that people of Uganda participated in these amendments. The evidence is too insignificant to constitute a meaningful participation of the people. Having said all that, I declare that the entire amendment was unconstitutional and should be declared null and void,” he ruled.

MPs’ Seven Year Term

The five judges unanimously agreed that it was wrong for the MPs to extend their tenure from five to seven years.

Justice Cheboriono Burishaki noted that this was done without consultation with the people, which was in violates articles 180 and 259 of the constitution, while Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo stated that MPs “betrayed the intentions of the law” by passing the amendment

The judges noted that MPs ought to have involved the public in extending the tenure of parliament through a referendum.