Justice Kenneth Kakuru has become the first judge of the panel of five justices of the Constitutional Court to annul the amendment of article 102(b) to lift the minimum and maximum age limit from the constitution.
Parliament in December passed the controversial age limit bill to lift the cap on the presidential and district chairperson age limit from the constitution after a total of 317 MPs voted in favour of the motion whereas 97 were against it.
Justice Kakuru who begun by reciting the country’s history right from the ‘reign of terror’ of Idi Amin to the current NRM government quoted President Museveni’s 1986 speech where he promised democratic governance, change in quality of politics, and people power.
In his judgment, Kakuru explained that the MPs consulted very few people, a size which was not representative of the actual number of voters as registered by the Electoral Commission during the previous 2016 elections.
“There was no enough evidence that people of Uganda participated in these amendments. The evidence is too insignificant to constitute a meaningful participation of the people,” he ruled.
“Having said all that, I declare that the entire amendment was unconstitutional and should be declared null and void,” Justice Kakuru ruled before awarding costs to petitioners.
Seven year term
Justice Kakuru, just like his earlier colleagues ruled that extending the tenure for parliament from five to seven years was illegal because it contravened the provisions of the constitution.
“If we go by what happened, it would mean that parliament would every five years extend its terms without holding an election and this is what Idi Amin did by declaring himself life president and parliament,”Kakuru ruled.
“They can even abolish the judiciary.”
He said the supreme authority for the country rests on Ugandans and they ought to have been consulted by parliament before proceeding with amendments.
Justice Kakuru said that parliament has no power to legislate on their own but that the power belongs to the people who renew that mandate every five year through an election.
The judge said the re -introduction of term limits and its passing was unconstitutional because it was never debated.
Two more judges including Remmy Kasule and the Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo are yet to deliver their rulings.