A group of six Members of Parliament have challenged the judgment by the Constitutional Court in regards age limit petition they had filed.
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 prompting a group of people including MPs to challenge it in court.
The Constitutional Court sitting in Mbale last week upheld the amendment of article 102(b) to lift the minimum and maximum age limit from the constitution.
Meanwhile, a group of MPs including Gerald Karuhanga, Jonathan Odur, Mubarak Munygwa, Allan Ssewanyana, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza have challenged the court’s decision.
“ It was wrong for the judges to say that it was right for Parliament to flout its rules of procedure when some members were not allowed to participate in the debate and final passing of the bill,” lawyer Erias Lukwago who represented the group told journalists .
“When it comes to rules of procedure, you either comply or you are found on the wrong side of the law. They (judges) just glossed over the issues in the petition.”
In a 4:1 decision, the panel of five judges said the age limit amendment was passed in compliance with the constitution and that a sitting president can continue to be in power despite clocking the mandatory 75 years.
“The Odoki Committee itself didn’t find the age limit of the President as one of the critical pillars of the constitution to be entrenched. Accordingly, I find that the Amendment of article 102(b) doesn’t contravene the constitution,” Justice Remmy Kasule said in his judgment.
“If we have fixed the minimum age, we don’t need to consider the maximum, the electorates will decide. .Aging is part of a human process that comes with its attributes. It must be appreciated that even with the removal of term limits, only those with the required age will stand for elections.”
However, according to Lukwago, by allowing the lifting of the cap on the presidential and district chairpersons age limit from the constitution, the justices of the Constitutional Court dug a grave for the country’s future by allowing life leaders to flourish.
“We have taken every step to clearly read the judgment and also do consultations before filing an appeal in this matter and we have realized the judges interpreted the constitution in such a way that will bring about crisis in the country,” Lukwago said.
“They failed to acknowledge that there are provisions which are basis of the constitution and should not be tampered with or else the constitution would become a mere document.
Another lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi said it was absurd that the court acknowledged there was violence during the passing of the age limit bill but went ahead to say it was passed in accordance with the constitution.
“Violence by the army storming parliament and police stopping opposition MPs from consulting was enough for court to nullify the bill but it never happened. This cannot be allowed to go on,” Rwakafuuzi said.
The lawyers said they have hope that the Supreme Court would find their appeal successful and overturn the lower court decision.