Justice Kakuru: these MPs can even vote to make Uganda a monarchy

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Justice Kakuru

Justice Kenneth Kakuru has equally rejected the extension of the term of Parliament and Local governments from 5 to 7 years.

Delivering the 3rd Judgment of the Constitutional Court in the Age Limit Petition Thursday, Kakuru said it would set a very dangerous precedent and arm Parliament with lots of powers to even vote for the removal of Uganda and replace it with a monarchy.

He said general elections have been held after every five years as provided in the Constitution and President Museveni has in all elections emerged winner.

“If what happened in the eight years of Amin’s terror rule was to be written down, there would be no space in the library of Uganda to house this history,” Kakuru noted.

He said the extension of term of Parliament breaks the sovereignty of the people and supremacy of the constitution.

He argued that the abolishment means Parliament can even abolish the judiciary and invest its powers in itself based on a legal misconception.

“I find that there was no public participation because the bill was presented, debated and passed on the same day.”

The execution of this amendment appears to have been a well-planned, premeditated and executed plan by a few backbenchers with the support of the Attorney General, Kakuru noted.

”Members of Parliament have no power on their own to legislate, the power to legislate belongs to the people of Uganda.”

He said the “notion that every Article of the Constitution can be amended, has no legal basis in our history and Jurisprudence, it must be rejected, and I hereby reject it”.

Justice Musoke’s judgment

In her earlier ruling, Justice Elizabeth Musoke said she finds that the extension of MPs’ and Local Government’s term by 2 years violated the Constitution and was not part of the intentions of the original constitutional amendment bill as presented by Raphael Magyezi.

Justice Musoke

“People express their will and determine their destiny through electing their representatives. By extending their tenure without a referendum, MPs deprived the people of their right to elect their leaders,” she argued.

Justice Musoke said the reluctance of the suspended MPs to leave the House could have led to their forceful eviction and subsequent arrest…Speaker Rebecca Kadaga acted within her powers when she ordered for the suspension and eviction of MPs.

Musoke says army deployment, intervention was not justified coz police could have been enough as there was no indication that the MPs were armed.

“Besides, army intervention was not requested for by sergeant at arms. Security forces deployment at and around parliament did not negatively impact debate, amendment of Age Limit.”

She said after the eviction of MPs, business went back to normal and during bill passing there was a full House.

Justice Musoke says petitioners failed to provide evidence on the quantitative side that the violence and disruption was substantive enough to affect the consultations countrywide.

“Having done it once, if not checked there is a possibility that MPs can do it again [to extend their term of office] and this cause instability.”

She added: “Lifting presidential age limits even encourages people to elect a leader of their choice. Citizens still retain the power to determine their representatives…Restricting public access to the gallery didn’t have a negative impact on age limit.”

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