Mbale, Uganda | URN | A debate on whether the incumbent President should vacate Office when he clocks 75 years mid-term has emerged as the Constitutional Court hears a petition against the Constitution Amendment Bill 2017.
Male Kiwanuka Mabirizi who is representing himself in the petition has threw another spanner in the works for the Judges of the Constitutional Court hearing the petition in Mbale.
The issue for the Judges according to Male Kiwanuka Mabiriizi is to determine if the the President elected in 2016 under the now amended Constitution should vacate Office on attaining 75 years. He wants the Judges to rule on whether the President be acting contrary to articles 83(1b) and article 102(C) of the Constitution. If the Judges agree with his demands, then it would apply to President Museveni who says he is 73 years old.
The President would also remain in power after he clocks 75 and would rule for more two years if the Judges don’t overturn the Constitutional Amendment Act 2017 which lifted the age limits and also extended the tenure of Office of President for seven years.
Mabirizi asked the Judges to use the principle recently cited by Justice Solome Bossa in the Gerald Karuhanga case to look at article 83(1b) together with article 102 as it appeared before the recent amendment to the Constitution.
The two articles quoted by Mabiriizi deal with the qualifications of the leaders at Parliament and Presidential levels. The same applications apply to the local government level.
He submitted that all leaders in the country at the national level are at the same footing as far as the qualifications and terms of service. His submission was interrupted by the Deputy Chief Justice, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo in form clarification but he pushed on.
Justice Owiny-Dollo reminded Kiwanuka Mabirizi that the respondent side has used the same argument that the restrictions on age set in the Construction were discriminatory.
Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigw Rukutana however insists that Mabiriizi should have put his energy to challenge article three of the Constitution Amendment Act.
Male Kiwanuka Mabirizi, who until recently known for having sued the Kabaka over land has been coming out with issues that on submission seemed like he was shooting down submissions by other petitioners but when he is not.
His submissions have drawn laughter with in the Courtroom occasionally bring in humor as the petitioners submit to the listening Judges. From the Judges’ side, Justice Owiny-Dollo has occasionally responded to the lawyers with kind words lightening the Courtroom with less legalese.
The hearing that has been running since Monday concluded submission into issues related to the laws that were followed or breached during the process of enacting the now controversial law.
The untouched legal issue relates to whether the President received a valid certificate from the Speaker of Parliament before he assented to the law being witness.Twelve witnesses have been lined up for cross examination by the petitioners.
The witnesses according to Justice Owiny-Dollo will be cross-examined strictly on the information they provided in the affidavits sworn in support.