Court upholds age limit, rejects term extension

At 11:48pm, the 13-hour wait for the final verdict of Constitutional Court in a consolidated petition challenging last December’s amendment of the Constitution was delivered.

The entire bench was in agreement on the unconstitutionality of the amendments that extended the tenure of office by two years, but disagreed with a lone voice on the lifting of the presidential age limits.

Uganda Law Society, Opposition MPs and lawyer Kiwanuka Male Mabirizi challenged the amendments that scrapped age limits for presidential and LC-V chairperson aspirants and also extended the term of Local government leadera and MPs from 5 to 7 years.

In a unanimous decision, all the five justices of the Constitutional Court agreed that the extension of the term of Parliament and local governments was inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore null and void.

“In a unanimous decision,Court declares sections 2,4,6,9,10 extension of tenure of parliament and reinstating of term limits is unconstitutional and are struck out of the amendment Act,” Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo said.

Being the president of the Constitutional Court, Dollo was the last to read his judgment after Elizabeth Musoke, Remmy Kasule, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru, the other Justices that formed the coram of the Constitutional Court.

Like his colleague Justices of the Constitutional Court, Dollo said, MPs must rise up above their narrow personal interest in respect to public interest.

In regard to the age limit amendments, all with the exception of Kakuru, allowed the scrapping of the age limits.

“In a majority decision of 4:1 with Justice Kakuru being the lone dissenting view, court declares removal of age limit for President and [local government leaders] were validly passed,” Dollo said.

Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana hailed the ruling that he said reflected the rule of law, adding that government would respect it.