Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | The petition challenging the Age Limit law will not be heard in Kampala but rather from Mbale High Court starting April 04, 2018 according to the Constitutional Court.
This was revealed on Tuesday by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Ddolo during the scheduling conference of the various petitions filed by aggrieved parties from Tooro, region, the Uganda Law Society and the Opposition Politicians led by Winnie Kiiza among others.
Late last year, parliament passed the Constitution Amendment Bill that’s dubbed the “Age Limit” that lifted the age limit on the presidency and extended the term of MPs from five to 7 years.
The essence of this conference was for the parties and the Judge, to discuss and agree on how to proceed and hear this case to its logical conclusion.
However some lawyers contested the venue. Erias Lukwago and Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi expressed difficulty in terms of transporting their entire team and that the High Court in Mbale has no library for them to make references to this case.
They argued that some of their law firms have no branches in Mbale making it hard to effectively represent their clients, and that this is a constitutional matter involving MPs, Leader of Opposition, lawyers and shadow ministers who have other things equally important to do in Kampala.
But the Deputy Chief Justice, did not agree with them saying the Constitutional Court remains the same even if it sat under a tree or any other district, saying that changing venue will not change his legal mind. He said as long as the petitioners in this case are serious and are concerned about the future of this country, they should be ready to sacrifice a few days off away from Kampala
He has assured the parties and their lawyers of maximum security and discipline while in Mbale, and cautioned them to leave politics out of this case. He said those planning to cause mayhem or confusion will be handled.
The judge concluded that the many petitions will be consolidated to make it one but the lawyers in this case will meet at the Chambers of Lawyer Wandera Ogalo this week, and come up with the issues to be determined in this case, list of authorities to be relied upon and all the evidence they need in this case should be filed before going to Mbale.
The Lawyers have been asked to return to court in Kampala on Tuesday next week and inform the judge on how prepared they will be ahead of Mbale sessions. He said he spend the Easter break going through all the evidence on file so that come April 04, 2018 it will be hearing day and no excuse.
The panel to hear the formal petition is not yet disclosed.
In January this year opposition members of Parliament led by their Leader Winfred Kiiza, and the Uganda Law Society, filed petitions in the Constitutional Court challenging the newly enacted “Age Limit” law.
The aggrieved parties say they do not agree with the whole process of conceptualizing, tabling, consultation, debating and passing of the age-limit bill in parliament on December 20, 2017 which did not put into consideration civil liberties of Ugandans.