One of the petitioners challenging the 2017 constitutional Amendment Act says Parliament replaced the 1995 constitution. Hassan Male Mabiriizi Kiwanuka, in his submission on the second day of the Constitutional Court hearing in Mbale district, said the country now has no constitution.
Hearing of the Constitutional Court petition challenging the amendment of Article 102b to remove presidential age limits gets underway in Mbale today. A panel of five judges led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo is set to hear the petitions at Mbale High Court. The other justices on the bench include; Remmy Kasule, Elizabeth Musoke, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru.
The case in which six Members of Parliament sued Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for suspending them has been referred to the Constitutional Court for interpretation. On December 18, Speaker Kadaga suspended the legislators for seven sittings shortly after the Minority and Majority reports on presidential Age Limit removal were tabled on the floor of parliament for debate.
Three hundred and seventeen Members of Parliament today voted in favour of the presidential age limit bill going for the third reading as Speaker Rebecca Kadaga finally put the controversial proposal to a vote. Ninety-seven legislators voted against the bill while two abstained. The Constitution Amendment Bill Number 2 of 2017, which seeks to amend Article 102b and remove presidential age limits, now goes to committee stage for legislators to consider it clause by clause. This is how different MPs voted on the Bill.
Parliament will on Monday, December 18, receive the report on the controversial age limit bill, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has said. While delivering her communication to parliament this afternoon, Kadaga reported that she had received both the main report and minority report from the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee which has been consulting on the Constitution Amendment No.2 Bill, 2017.
President Yoweri Museveni has said politics is about ideology and service and not a sport where one needs to compete physically. On the proposal to increase the of term of office for the President from five to seven years, Museveni said the leaders in Africa have much more to do and need adequate time to develop the continent and saw no harm in having longer terms. This appears to be another indication that the 73-year-old leader is determined to have the constitution amended and presidential age limits removed to enable him stay on beyond 2021 when his current term of office ends.
The ruling National Resistance Movement has moved to add six of its Members of Parliament on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee currently considering the controversial Age Limit Bill. The committee now has 29 members.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee today resolved to hold countrywide consultations about the Constitutional Amendment No.2 Bill, 2017 going against an earlier plan not to do so. In the committees earlier plan ahead of the consideration of the Bill, a draft budget of 715 million Shillings was drawn up to facilitate 23 legislators to traverse the country and also visit three countries.
At least 65 original Articles of the Uganda Constitution have been amended since it was promulgated 22 years ago. As parliament continues to receive opinions on whether to remove or maintain the presidential age limits in the Constitution, Uganda Radio Network highlights the number of times the Constitution has been amended with far-reaching impact on the politics of the country. Now 22 years after, the Supreme Law of the Land is not the same with 65 of its original Articles already amended, making some legal experts such as Professor Frederick Ssempebwa to call for a total review of the Constitution.
Details about the presentations before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee indicate that seven witnesses are in support of the removal of presidential age limits, nine are against while five have no position. Uganda Radio Network- URN has also learnt that at least 20 people invited by the Committee have declined to appear to give their stand. Nine more witnesses are scheduled to appear this week.
There was a low turn up of NRM supporters at the age limit consultation rally organised by Burahya County Member of Parliament Margaret Muhanga and addressed by President Yoweri Museveni. The rally, organised on Thursday afternoon, had received week-long massive publicity on local radio stations, including promises of transport to and from Karambi Play Ground in Kabarole district, the venue of the rally.
National Resistance Movement NRM supporters in Kabarole district are being ferried to attend the age limit consultation rally at Karambi Sub County. President Yoweri Museveni is expected in Kabarole this afternoon to attend the rally on the invitation of Margaret Muhanga, the Member of Parliament Burahya County.
Officials from the Uganda Local Government Association--ULGA have today been dismissed from the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. Led by Lwengo district chairperson George Mutabazi, ULGA told the committee that the association had no position on the age limit Bill since it was not moved under Article 261 which requires ratification by district councils.
According to Lawyer Peter Mulira, the provisions under which the Constitution can be amended as spelt out in Article 259 can only be fulfilled through a procedure which is not specified. He states that this procedure can only be based on an act of Parliament which has never been passed.
Bintamanya was released on Thursday evening after two days in detention. Herbert Mugisa, the LCIII Chairperson of South Division and Peter Bazira, the district Councillor representing West Division stood surety for Bintamanya.
Two bishops from Tooro have today spoken out against plans by the government to amend the constitution and remove presidential age limits. Bishops Robert Muhiirwa Akiiki of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese and Reuben Kisembo Amooti of the Anglican diocese of Ruwenzori, urged leaders to protect the constitution which they swore to defend.
Out of eleven councillors in the district, only Abraham Kitacho, the Abim Town Council male councillor and the district speaker, Godfrey Omara, rejected the proposed amendment. The position of the district chairperson Jimmy Ochero is, however, yet to be revealed since he has reportedly been out of the country since the consultations commenced.