Uganda: constitutional court to decide on presidential age-limit case

Uganda: constitutional court to decide on presidential age-limit case

Opposition Members of Parliament, Uganda law society and civil society groups want to prevent President Yuweri Museveni from taking part in the 2021 Presidential election in the country

The constitutional court members in Uganda have met to examine a petition filed in by some opposition Members of Parliament and other groups, demanding that the court should annul a constitutional amendment which removes presidential age-limit.

The petition is challenging the law by Parliament which amended the constitution last year to remove the Presidential age limit. The age limit is presently 75 years.

The Ungandan Parliament passed the billed on December 20, 2017 and 317 politicians voted in favour of it with 97 voting against.

According to the amendment, the 73 – year – old President who has been in power for more than 30 years could seek re-election in 2021.

Opposition lawyers argue that the amendment was “smuggled” into law insisting that the Parliament had not respected all the legal procedures when adopting it.

The deputy attorney general, Rukutana Mwesigwa at the start of the hearing on Monday April 09, 2018, told the constitutional court in defense of the age limit law that the government acted legally when it facilitated the process of enacting the said law. He prayed to court to dismiss the petitions saying that the amendment of article 102(b) was constitutional.

The bill was enacted into law on the 02 of January 2018 by President Museveni.

After examining the petition, the constitutional court judges, Cheborin Barishki, Remmy Kasule, deputy chief justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, Kenneth Kakuru and Elisabeth Musoke adjourned the case until next week Tuesday, when they will resume with cross examinations.

Among those to be crossed examined next week are the Chief of Defense Forces, gen David Muhoozi and Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi. They shall be cross examined over their testimonies about the age limit petition.

The hearing took place in a regional Eastern city of Mbale, and it was the first time a major constitutional petition is been heard in a regional city. Reports indicate that the case was shifted from the capital Kampala to avoid drawing too much public attention. Security in the court in Mbale was equally stepped up.

The petitioners argue that Mr. Museveni through the law wants to stay in power for life. He won a fifth term in office in 2016 in elections marred by allegations in rigging.

A two-term limit was scrapped in 2005 to allow him stand for office again, meanwhile the Ugandan constitution enacted in 1995, previously prohibited anyone younger than 35 or older than 75 from serving as President.

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Louvier Kindo
Louvier Kindo 41 Articles

Louvier Kindo Tombe, passionate about radio. He is interested since 2017 in the issues of decentralization, local development and governance.

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