Court awards petitioners Shs20m, scraps MPs 7 year-term

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Lawyer Lukwago with petitioners in court

The constitutional court sitting in Mbale town on Thursday upheld the presidential age limit amendment but blocked the selfish push by Members of Parliament to give themselves more years in office.

Five justices of the court declared that sections 2,4,6,9,10 extension of tenure of parliament and recitation of term limits unconstitutional and are struck out [it was a unanimous decision].

Presided over by deputy chief justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, court declared that the removal of age limit for President and LC5 are valid and passed.

“This court declares the Age Limit removal was passed lawfully. Only one judge of the Constitutional Court dissented to this,” Dollo revealed in a late-night ruling.

Court then awarded professional fees of Shs20m for each petitioner.

But the judges struck down lawmakers’ efforts to extend their terms of office from five to seven years which would have pushed elections back to 2023, with one judge describing their effort as “selfish”.

Dollo said the MPs were subjective to their narrow personal interests above the public good when they pushed for their term in office to be extended.

“This was a breach in the contract between them and the people according to the law of agency. The reason of a law is the soul of that law. When the reason is lost, that law does not exist.”

He went on: “Where Parliament has committed an error in legislation, only parliament can right this wrong and not court because there is separation of power between the executive, legislature and judiciary.”

The judges also decided that an attempt to reintroduce presidential term limits — scrapped with the reintroduction of multi-party politics in 2005 when the constitution was last amended — breached parliamentary procedure. They ruled the bid invalid, paving the way for a Museveni life presidency.

“As a people, we are entitled to be apprehensive of the future and therefore need a strong constitution. The constitution is not for the current generation but this generation needs to bequeath a stable nation to future generations,” Dollo said.

He prophesied: “Future generations will hold us accountable. They will be furious and harsh in their judgment of us for having bequeathed them a state that has no respect for constitutionalism and law.”

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