Developing story: Justices Ekirikubinza, Mwangusha and Mugamba reject age limit amendment

Justice Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza became the second justice of the Supreme Court in allowing the consolidated presidential age limit appeal, challenging the amendment of the Constitution to remove presidential age limits.

She was immediately after joined by Justice Paul Mugamba who concurred with her that the lack of a certificate of compliance rendered the entire amendment null and void.

Like Justice Elidad Mwangusha, Ekirikubinza agreed with the petitioners that the constitutional Amendment Bill was passed in violation of the law.

Justice Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza

She faulted the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga for forwarding the Bill to President Yoweri Museveni for a presidential assent with full knowledge that its passing was in contravention of the constitution.

“I find that under no circumstances should a Speaker forward a bill to the President with full knowledge that it contains provisions passed in contravention of the Constitution,” Ekirikubinza said.

“Because of the defective Certificate of Compliance, I hereby declare the entire Constitutional Amendment Act of 2018 to be null and void,” she added.

She also ruled that the Speaker has no power to unilaterally determine the contents of the order paper, further adding that the power to amend the Constitution is not the same as the power to rewrite the constitution, also agreeing with the appellants that before passing the amendments, there should have been wide consultations since the power to replace is with the people and not with the people’s representatives (MPs).

Justice Mugamba criticised the deployment of the army in Parliament during the time of debate of the Bill which was moved privately by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi.

“Their (army) involvement in dragging the Members of Parliament and assaulting them was unconstitutional. I am unable to agree that the assault of the Members of Parliament was justifiable,” Mugamba ruled.

“For the reasons given above, I found out that the enactment in its entirety cannot be saved. I will declare that the entire constitution amendment act was illegally enacted and is therefore null and void,” Mugamba concluded.