Justice Kenneth Kakuru, one of the judges hearing the age limit petition has faulted MPs for not consulting the electorate before moving to amend the Constitution.
In December last year parliament passed age limit bill lifting presidential age limit that capped at 75 years, giving a leeway for President Yoweri Museveni who is currently 73 years to stand for presidency in 2021. On the same day they also voted to extend their term in office from five to seven years.
But quoting Article 77 (3) Justice Kenneth Kakuru said the legislators’ term is five years from the time of election. “The seven years in office doesn’t start with this term because the Constitution does not provide for it,” he noted at the ongoing petition in Mbale, lodged to challenge the expunging of Article 102 (b) on the presidential age limit.
He added: “Why did you extend your term to seven years? Your electorate are used to five years; it would have been two months, they now have to wait for seven years to receive handouts. The late Idi Amin became a life president basing on argument that he consulted the people of Kigezi saying that they urged him to rule for life. Couldn’t the lifting of term limits lead to overthrow of the Constitution?”
His colleagues also faulted government for shunning its duty and leaving a private member to move the bill.
“It was a private members bill, then why did you go behind the curtain and fund it?” Alphonse Owiny Dollo, the Deputy Chief Justice and head of the five-judge coram asked the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana.
In his submission Rukutana said that voters were consulted on the matter through various ways including the use of phones, rallies and that they supported the extension of MPs term in office.
“The electorates saw it that five years are not enough for their MPs to execute their duties,” he said.