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MABIRIIZI: Uganda has no Constitution

Age Limit petition hearing in Mbale

Mbale, Uganda | URN | One of the petitioners challenging the 2017 constitutional Amendment Act says Parliament replaced the 1995 constitution.

Hassan Male Mabiriizi Kiwanuka, in his submission on the second day of the Constitutional Court hearing in Mbale district, said the country now has no constitution.

He submitted that Parliament did not merely amend the constitution to scrap the presidential age limits but enacted a new constitution without following laid down procedures of amending it.

Mabiriizi Kiwanuka wowed the courtroom leading to an outburst of laughter as he submitted.

He says the 2017 Constitution Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 20 amidst acrimony, substantially changed the amended version of 1995 constitution.

He argued that two elements of the constitution are at stake as a result of the decisions by Parliament to amend the constitution without following procedure.

Those, he said, included sovereignty of the people and the qualification of the President.

It had to take the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo to restrain those in the courtroom to reduce on the laughter.

Kiwanuka Mabiriizi moved on with the submissions saying that Parliament amended Article 260 directly without separating the two sittings of Parliament and without referring the matter to a referendum.

He said by failure to refer the matter to a referendum as well as separating the sittings, Parliament overthrew the constitution.

Kinwanuka Mabiriizi asked court to throw out the 2017 Constitution Amendment Act so as to return to the original constitution before the December 2017 amendment.

Mabiriizi agrees with other petitioners that parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee smuggled into the Constitution Amendment (No2) Bill 2017 items like the extension of the term of office for President, Parliament and local government Councillors as well as restoration of presidential term limits, even after having been warned by Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

The court had been adjourned after submission by the petitioners’ lawyers. The Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana was expected to submit the government’s response.

The Constitutional Court on Monday began hearing of the petition challenging the removal presidential age limits from the Constitution.

A panel of five judges led by Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo is hearing the petition at Mbale High Court. The other justices on the bench are Remmy Kasule, Elizabeth Musoke, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru.

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