The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, has struggled to defend Constitutional Court that upheld the removal of both lower and upper presidential age limit that was capped at 75 years saying the court struck out age limit case since the enactment of the law went through right procedures.
On July 26, four of the five judges of Constitutional Court led by Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, Chebrion Barishaki, Elizabeth Musoke and Remy Kasule endorsed the expunging of both lower and upper presidential age limit that was capped at 75 years according to the 1995 and discarded the elevation of five to seven legislator’s tenure in office.
Yesterday Supreme Court commenced the hearing of an appeal filed against Constitutional Courts’ ruling. The appeal was filed by a group of three parties including the Uganda Law Society, lawyer Male Mabirizi and six opposition legislators led by Winnie Kiiza who challenged the decision before the Supreme Court.
The appellant lawyers led by Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago faulted Constitutional Court for failure to summon some of the witnesses like the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Raphael Magyezi the mover of the bill and the commander of Special Forces Command (SFC) that stormed parliament, evicted suspended MPs.
In their submissions, Lukwago told Supreme Court judges that this country has never had any peaceful transfer of power, therefore, the removal of presidential age limit prepares it back to political turmoil.
“The bill was smuggled in the house and the process of enacting it was marred by violence, arrests and police’s disruption of opposition MPs consultative meetings. Opposition legislator’s consultative meetings were always disrupted by the police that was led by the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen. Kale Kayihura,” he told Court.
Appearing before a panel of seven judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, AG, William Byaruhanga was tasked to explain whether the amendment of article 102 (b) was not meant to give leeway for president Museveni to stand in 2021, he said presidential age-limit is not one of the articles that need approval of citizens to be amended by parliament.
“Parliament is vested with powers to amend the constitution as many times as possible as on behalf of citizens as long as it does not touch the basic structures of the constitution,” He said
He said Ugandans have powers to exercise their rights either vote in or out of the current president if he stands in 2021 adding that upon perusing the entire grounds and memorandum of appeal adding that Upon perusing the entire grounds and memorandum of appeal, he has come to a conclusion that the appeal offends several rules of procedure governing pleadings in the Supreme Court and hence should be struck out.
However, response to disruption of opposition’s consultative meetings, the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana said consultations took shape in the whole Country and every MP was allowed to consult his electorates.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe asked Rukutana to explain whether the Speaker was in charge of the house when SFC officers stormed parliament? Rukutana said she was in charge despite suspending it for suspended MPs to leave the house.
“Am asking, was she in charge of the house when the mess was out of the chambers, yes Rukutana responded saying she had suspended not adjourned,” he said.
Other judges of the Supreme Court include; Paul Mugamba, Stella Amoko Arach, Ruby Apio Aweri, Jotham Tumwesigye, Eldad Mwanguhya and Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza.