NRM’s plan B for the age limit petition
Not sure that their legal team’s performance during the hearing of the petition against the Constitutional Amendment Act 2017 could secure them victory in the Constitutional Court, the ruling party’s strategists are back on the drawing board.
Hearing of the consolidated petition challenging last year’s removal of presidential age limits and the extension of the term of MPs and Local government leaders closed on April 19 at the High Court buildings in Mbale with the Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo announcing that judgement will be delivered on notice.
Within the NRM, there is fear that the court may quash some of the amendments, specifically the term extension, thus subjecting them to an election in 2021 which they had wanted to avoid.
Should the judges quash it, an NRM MP told this website, the legislators will respond by blocking the judiciary’s demand for increased pay.
“We shall get them here by not approving their request to increase their salaries,” the MP said.
Bukooli North MP Guster Mugoya who was among the lawyers that backed up Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana at Mbale during the hearing said that the ruling party is ready to fight all the way to ensure that the MPs benefit from the amendments.
“This is a political issue, and issues relating to a political question must be settled politically,” Mugoya said.
The former magistrate was part of the NRM lawyers that crafted the controversial Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 of 2017 which was tabled as a Private Member’s Bill by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi.
Mugoya later worked with Rukutana, Ajuri MP Hamson Obua, Kaberamaido MP Veronica Bicheetero, and Gomba West MP also Mwesigwa Rukutana, MP Hamson Obua, Veronica Bicheetero, and Gomba West MP Robina Rwakoojo to craft the term extension proposal.
This particular proposal was tabled by Mbarara Municipality MP Michael Tusiime during debate on the Age Limit bill.
Government’s defence team struggled to defend this amendment during the hearing of the Age Limit petition, and ever since they returned from Mbale, Mugoya has found himself having to do more explanations to his NRM colleagues at Parliament than his legislative work.
“From Mbale, we will go to the Supreme Court and if it fails [in the Supreme Court], we will end up bringing it back here [in Parliament],” Mugoya said.
Although he did not directly mention, Mugoya indicated that there are parts of the petition that the government side may lose.
“We want it in its entirety and if there’s anything we are to lose, we shall have to go all the way…this is purely a political question which must be settled by Parliament,” Mugoya said.