Justice Paul Mugamba said the presence of the military at Parliament during discussion of the bill that led to the assault of several legislators opposed to the bill was uncalled for.
Some of the age limit appellants Hon. Betty Nambooze, and Hon. Allan Ssewanyana.
There are mixed feelings as the Justices of the Supreme Court deliver their judgement on the consolidated age limit appeals. Three of the seven Supreme Court Judges have so far delivered their judgments
nullifying the scrapping of the presidential age limit from the constitution.
are justices Paul Mugamba, Eldard Mwanguhya and Lillian
Tibatemwa. The three judges argue
that the process leading to the conceptualization of Constitution (Amendment)
(No. 2) Bill, 2017, which paved way for scrapping of the presidential age limit
Their main argument is that
there was no valid certificate of compliance accompanying the Bill, which
the President assented to in December, 2017.
"Because of the defectiveness of the
Certificate of Compliance issued by Parliament 'confirming' that the procedural
requirements of amendment had been followed. I hereby declare the entire
Constitutional Amendment Act of 2017 to be null and void ", said Justice
Tibatemwa also ruled that court cannot go ahead to sever a
document, which has no legal standing. Lady Justice Tibatemwa also excited the
petitioners when she ruled that "the acts of Parliament were misconceived
and unconstitutional since they compromised majority Ugandans.”
"Acts that take us back to the sad history
of Uganda cannot be maintained in the constitution. I hereby allow this appeal
with each party bearing its own costs since this is a public interest
matter", said Tibatemwa.
Justice Paul Mugamba said the presence of the military at
Parliament during discussion of the bill that led to the assault of several
legislators opposed to the bill was uncalled for.
"The chilling effect of this invasion of
the military in parliament cannot be underestimated," Justice Mugamba
stated. Mugamba declared the entire process of enacting the law unlawful
and partially allowed the appeal.
Earlier on, Justices Apio Aweri and Stella
Arach Amoko upheld the Constitutional court verdict that rendered the removal
of the presidential age limit lawful. This implies that the Judges
who have so far nullified the law are the majority since those supporting it
are few. (3:2).
Some of those opposed to the scrapping of the petitioners led by
Male Mabirizi were heard, saying that they are
going to pray such that the next Justice delivers judgment in their favor.
Those left are Justices Jotham Tumwesigye and Chief Justice, Bart
The appeal stems from a Constitutional Court
judgment delivered by a panel of four judges in 2018 upholding the constitutional
amendment, which lifted the 75 year presidential age cap. The justices including Cheborion Barishaki,
Elizabeth Musoke, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo and Remmy Kasule, said the bill was
passed within the laid down procedures.
However, Justice Kenneth Kakuru
delivered a dissenting judgment noting that the entire process of amending the
Constitution was flawed, since the majority of the legislators never consulted
citizens, in whom the power is vested.
Following the constitutional court judgment, city
lawyer Male Mabirizi, six opposition members of Parliament and Uganda Law
Society petitioned the Supreme Court on 16 grounds indicating that the
constitutional court judges erred in law.
Mabirizi particularly noted that the judges
erred in law when they failed to state the reasons for their decision not to
summon the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to testify on matters that
relate to the conduct of parliament and events that dominated the process.
petitioners demanded that the constitutional amendment process be declared null
and void for derogating the right to a fair hearing.