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It’s a tie as Supreme Court decide on age limit removal appeal

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The ongoing Supreme Court ruling on the removal of the upper age limit for anyone contesting as president of Uganda now stands even, with two judges agreeing with the Constitution Court which okayed the amendment in July 2018 while the two have nullified it.

In the first session, Justice Stella Arach-Amoko said: “On the issue of amending article 102(b), I am in agreement with my learned friends that amending article 102(b) does not destroy the basic features of the constitution since the people still have the power to choose who they want to rule them,” said Justice Stella Arach-Amoko.

While concluding her ruling she said: “I will, therefore, dismiss the consolidated appeal and the parties shall bear their cost.”

Article 102 (b) of the Constitution does not form the basic structure doctrine. The article is, not among the entrenched provisions of the Constitution, she said.

On the other Justice Eldard Mwanguhya while giving the different merits of the petition said: ‘Prayer for nullification is allowed, I order that each party meets its own costs.’

However, Mwanguhya upheld the Constitutional Court’s decision to decline to summon and cross examine Speaker Kadaga, saying since there was sufficient material on record to deduce an informed decision.

He ruled that the actions by Police to restrict MPs’ consultation was unconstitutional, and also quashes the extension of the terms of Parliament and Local Councils including an amendment proposed by MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi to introduce presidential term limits.

Mwangusya on suspension of MPs; he said, the rules of procedure clearly show procedure to challenge the suspension. The members should have taken the procedures because the court cannot intervene.

In the second session that resumed at 2pm, Justice Rubby Opio Aweri dismissed the appeal on removal age limit

He disagreed with the petitioners on Shs 29 million for consultation to MPs, saying it was appropriated by parliament. The petitioners claimed it was sort of a bribe and unconstitutional.

Justice Ru Aweri: also ruled like Justice Arach that Article 102 did not fall under the basic structure of our constitution so it could be amended by parliament.

He said opposition MPs behaved inappropriately during the age limit removal debate leading to violence. “I rule that those MPs who were assaulted like Hon. Nambooze should sue government…,” he said.

He dismissed the appeal while agreeing with the Attorney General on all grounds and says the Constitutional Court rightly applied the principle of severance.

In her ruling, Hon. Lady Justice Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza contends that the age limit only applies at the time of elections and not when one is already in office.

Reading her judgment, she said the power to amend is not the same as the power to rewrite the constitution. The power to replace is with the people and not with the people’s representatives

She also said amending article 102b and didn’t violet the basic structure of Uganda’s Constitution…

She said: “The order of business at a particular sitting of Parliament will have to be done by the Business Committee of Parliament acting as a whole and not any of its Members acting unilaterally.”

Justice Paul Mugamba is meanwhile reading his judgement, with two more remaining to do so including Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.

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