Seasoned Professor Fredrick Ssempebwa has said the decision by the Constitutional Court to hear the age limit petitions from Mbale is unprecedented and an abomination.
The Deputy Chief Justice,Alphonse Owiny-Dollo on Monday announced that hearing of five petitions that have been merged into one challenging the newly enacted age-limit law that lifted the presidential Age-limit cap from 75 has been transferred to Mbale.
Speaking to journalists at Serena Hotel Kampala at the launch of the first quarterly report for the state of the rule of law in Uganda, Ssempebwa said he had never witnessed such a decision for the years he has spent as a lawyer.
“It has never happened in my life as a lawyer.It is strange and unprecedented,”Ssempebwa said.
The petitioners’ lawyers led by Erias Lukwago on Tuesday argued that the venue will be inconveniencing to them since it is too far and a lot of time will be wasted away from their usual duties.
In his argument,the Deputy chief justice said that Mbale is also part of Uganda from where the petitions can be heard but the lawyer who chaired Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) says on many occasions the court has moved to various parts of the country where the petitioners hail from,adding that this is not the case this time round.
“None of the petitioners or their lawyers comes from that side.I cannot tell why the court moved the cases to Mbale,”he said.
“It is possible the Deputy Chief Justice thought it(Mbale) would be more quiet to allow him do the work well but it is unprecedented.”
Five petitions were filed by the Uganda Law Society (ULS), six opposition MPs , lawyer, Male Mabirizi, Dr.Abed Bwanika and Prosper Busingye,a concerned citizen from Western Uganda against the passing of the age limit bill last year.
Parliament on December 20 passed the age limit bill before being signed into law by President Museveni seven days later to allow lifting of the cap on the lower and upper age limit from 35 and 75 respectively.