Justices of the Constitutional Court have blasted Members of Parliament for being greedy when they extended their term of office from five to seven years during the passing of the age limit.
Parliament in December 2017 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.
Members of Parliament also passed a bill that would see their tenure extended from five to seven years and this was expected to begin with the current term.
On Thursday, the panel of five justices of the Constitutional Court including the Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo, Cheborion Barishaki, Elizabeth Musoke and Remmy Kasule upheld the amendment whereas Justice Kenneth Kakuru unanimously agreed that it was wrong for the Members of Parliament to extend parliament’s tenure from five to seven years.
The judges described the act by legislators as being greed because it was not for national benefit but rather MPs’
“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,” Justice Kenneth Kakuru said.
The no nonsense judge said that there was no justification for the legislators to award themselves two years on top of the five without consulting their electorates.
“MPs have no power to legislate on their own, the power belongs to the people who renew that mandate every five years,”Kakuru said.
The judge explained that there was no evidence to show that the voters were consulted on this crucial issue adding that extending the term for parliament could only be done through a referendum but the legislators never did it.
“These were unprecedented amendments through which people ought to have been consulted. Extending the term parliament and amounted to a flagrant breach of social contract,”Kakuru noted.
“MPs allocating themselves power to extend term of office is like Amin declaring himself life president. They can even abolish judiciary. “It was an attempt by parliament to override the power of the people and the same was null and void.”
The Deputy Chief Justice,Dollo said Members of Parliament extended their term by more two years out of their narrow personal interests above the public good.
“I therefore find section 2 and 6 in regards to extending time of parliament and local government was inconsistent with the constitution,” Justice Elizabeth Musoke ruled.