Age Limit petition: Court declines to summon Kadaga; Gen Muhoozi to appear for questioning

Kenneth Kazibwe

Kenneth Kazibwe

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The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Chief of Defence Forces in the UPDF, Gen.David Muhoozi will appear before it and be cross examined during the hearing of the petition against passing of the age limit bill into law.

Hearing of a consolidated petition in which a group of five people petitioned the Constitutional Court against the recently passed age limit bill into law saying it contravened the constitution kicked off in Mbale on Monday amidst tight security.

According to some of the guidelines to be followed in the case, the parties agreed that the court will address itself on the actions of the security forces led by the army and police that included entering of parliament and the alleged assault on legislators during the age limit debate was not in contravention of the law.

In their opening submissions, lawyers led by Erias Lukwago told court that Gen. Muhoozi should be summoned to the court to be cross examined on the affidavit he swore in regards the role played by the army when it invaded parliament at the peak of the debate about the contentious bill.

In its ruling, the court described the case as being peculiar and would require all witnesses mentioned to appear in person for cross examination.

The court also issued summons to the Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi , Kampala Metropolitan Area Police Commander Frank Mwesigwa, Head of Public Service John Mitala, and the police director in charge of operations AIGP Asuman Mugenyi for cross examination over their role during the passing of the bill into law.

Meanwhile, the court declined to issue orders to have the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga summoned as had been requested by the lawyers.

On December 18,2017, a section of opposition legislators led by the Leader of Opposition, Winnie Kiiza stormed out of the August house in protest against Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s decision to suspend some of their colleagues including Allan Ssewanyana, Ssemujju Nganda, Jonathan Odur , Gerald Karuhanga Mubarak Munyagwa and Anthony Akol and court is expected to decide on the legality of the decision by Kadaga to allow presentation of a private members in the absence of the legislators.

The lawyers had requested that Kadaga appear in person for cross examination but the court ruled that she cannot appear for questioning by the lawyers.

The court ordered the people summoned to appear on April 17th for their cross examination.
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.

Five petitions were later 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 challenging the passing of the bill last year.

A panel of five justices of the Constitutional Court led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny- Dollo have today commenced listening to submissions by both parties in the petitions which were consolidated into one.

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