Lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has said he is still in need of at least shs95 million as budget for the age limit case that he filed before the East African Court of Justice.
In May Mabirizi filed an appeal at the East African Court of Justice seeking a declaration that the process of passing and assenting to the Age Limit Act was null and void because it did not comply with Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community.
Mabirizi last month asked the court sitting in Arusha to halt the 2021 presidential elections to allow hearing and determination his appeal by the regional court.
However, the lawyer says he still needs money to cater for costs during the case whose hearing will kick off next year.
“I still have debts on printing, photocopying and biding of authorities and other documents filed in the court. There are still debts on travel, accommodation and other expenses that I incurred during the first phase of the case that ended last month,”Mabirizi said.
The lawyer said he was happy that the appeal he filed before the East African Court of Justice has reawakened faith within Ugandans over the age limit.
“Many of them thought the declaration of the Supreme Court was final but when they saw proceedings at the East African Court of Justice, they realized there is still hope for them,” he noted.
He, however, noted that it was appalling that there was only one Ugandan in Arusha during the court proceedings, saying his case is important as far as the rule of law and constitutionalism in Uganda are concerned.
The lawyer who came to prominence for suing the Kabaka of Buganda, however, asked members of the public to contribute something to his fundraising drive for the shs95 million that he says is ongoing.
“I revised my budget from shs394 million to shs114 million and now I need shs95 million. Ugandans should help me offer something to fundraise for the cause,”Mabirizi says.
The Supreme Court early this year in a 4:3 majority judgment dismissed a challenge by three parties who had challenged the constitutional court ruling that had upheld age limit clauses from the constitution by parliament.
Mabirizi challenged the court saying the several actions, directives and decisions of all the three organs of government including parliament, executive and judiciary in conceptualizing, processing, pursuing and upholding of the age limit amendments was an infringement on the provisions of the East African Community treaty.
“The actions of curtailing and undermining Uganda citizens’ participation in their constitutional amendment process through preventing the applicant(Mabirizi) access to parliament’s gallery, and failure to take all reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure public participation of all Ugandans in the Constitutional amendment process was a violation of their rights,”Mabirizi said in his petition.
“Using the police and the military to disperse meetings organized by members of parliament and other political players to enhance public participation of citizens was a violation of their rights.”
The lawyer argued that amending the constitution through violence or threatened violence undermined the integrity of parliament, allowed the defence forces participate in partisan politics and also derogated MPs’ fundamental rights against torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Mabirizi also averred that assenting to the bill by the president on strength of an invalid certificate of compliance was an illegality.
He says the proceeds contravened Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community.
The Ugandan government recently in response told the East African Court for Justice in Arusha that it does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter because the issues raised by Mabirizi had been duly handled and resolved by competent local courts in Uganda and thus there is no need revisit them.