The Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe has said the Supreme Court will deliver its judgment in the age limit petition on notice following the completion of the hearing session for the case.
Last year, the Constitutional Court sitting in Mbale in a 4:1 decision, upheld the scrapping of the presidential age limit clauses from the Constitution by Parliament prompting a group of three parties including the Uganda Law Society, lawyer Male Mabirizi and 6 opposition MPs led by Winnie Kiiza to challenge the decision before the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the court concluded hearing from both parties before asking them to wait for the judgment.
“We will deliver the judgment on notice as soon as we finish looking through your submissions,”Katureebe said.
Parliament in 2017 a majority 317 MPs voted to amend article 102(b) that saw the lower and upper age limit removed from the constitution.
The three appellants represented by Male Mabirizi, Erias Lukwago, Wandera Ogalo and Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi argue that removal of the presidential age limit paved way for President Museveni to rule for life after allowing him to contest for presidency even after clocking 75 years.
They say the Constitutional Court in Mbale was wrong not to annul the amendment that will see President Museveni who will be above 75 years be eligible for re-election in 2021 after the barriers stopping him were removed by parliament.
“The framers of the 1995 constitution didn’t not want an old president to lead the county and insisted that if one reaches 75 years of age, they leave office. It was therefore wrong for the court to rule otherwise. The justices ought to have known the peculiar situations that this country has gone through where we have lost many lives due to wars caused by violation of the constitution,”Mabirizi told court on Tuesday.
Lukwago added, “Since independence, the country has never had a peaceful transition and framers of the 1995 constitution found it necessary to put in place roadblocks that would guarantee a peaceful change of guards. By removing these safety nets, it was violation of the constitution. Allowing the amendment to stand by the Constitutional Court was an act of allowing President Museveni rule for life.”
The appellants say the Supreme Court ought to annul the amendment to save the country from anarchy and chaos caused by lack of a peaceful transition of power from one leader to another.
However, on the other side, the Attorney General told court that there was nothing wrong by Parliament amending the Constitution to remove the age limit because it gave voters a wide pool of choices from which to choose leaders.
“Article 102(b)(which talks of age limit) is not among the articles entrenched by the framers of the constitution and the amendment therefore didn’t undermine the spinal cord of the constitution,” the Attorney General, William Byauhanga told court on Wednesday.
Byaruhanga said that despite Museveni being more than 75 years of age by 2021, the amendment gave more powers to people to exercise the rights to either vote him out or retain him in office.
The Attorney General asked the Supreme Court to uphold the amendment because it was constitutional.