Justice Cheborion Barishaki, one of the members on the panel of judges of the Constitutional Court handling the age limit petition has ruled that extending parliament’s term from five to seven years was illegal.
A group of five people including the Uganda Law Society (ULS), lawyer Male Kiwanuka Mabirizi, six Opposition MPs led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, Prosper Businge, Dr.Abed Bwanika and Jonathan Abaine Buregyeya petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the passing of the age limit bill into law saying it contravened the constitution.
They also argued that it was wrong for parliament to extend its terms and the one for local government from the current five to seven years.
The petitioners contended that parliament overrode its powers granted to it by the constitution by extending the tenure from five to seven years and subsequently overtook the powers of the citizens.
In his judgment on Thursday morning, Justice Barishaki ruled that it was unacceptable for parliament to extend
“These were unprecedented amendments through which people ought to have been consulted. Extending the term parliament and amounted to a fragrant breach of social contract,” Justice Barishaki said.
“It amounted to an attempt by parliament to override the power of the people and the same was null and void.
The judge also ruled that public was denied chance to participate in a crucial matter regarding their governance.
“Parliament didn’t have authority to amend its term without holding a referendum and it was done unconstitutionally.”
He added, “There ought to have been a referendum to decide the matter.”
The judge noted that there was no evidence in form of submissions from the respondents’ side to show cause for extending the term from five to seven years.
“No submission was given that the extension was done in national interest. It was selfish and goes against principal of good governance,” he added.
The judge is still reading his judgment before his colleagues on the Constitutional Court panel could also read theirs.