Male Hassan Mabirizi Kiwanuka, one of the petitioners who challenged the ‘age limit’ Constitutional Amendment Act of 2017, has filed a notice of appeal challenging the verdict of the Constitutional court.
The notice of appeal was filed on Friday – a day after a Constitutional court decision that upheld the amendment by parliament to lift the cap on the presidential age, which was initially limited to persons aged between 35 and 75.
Four of the five members of the Constitutional court; Cheborion Barishaki, Elizabeth Musoke, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo and Remmy Kasule, upheld the amendment when they said that it did not contravene the Constitution and neither did it contravene parliament’s rules of procedure.
But Justice Kenneth Kakuru declared that the entire process was flawed and asked that the entire amendment Act be purged from the Constitution of Uganda.
In his judgment, Kakuru pointed out that out of a population of close to 40 million Ugandans, only 22 individuals, eight government ministries, 15 commissions or agencies including the prime minister in his official capacity, four political parties, the leader of the opposition in parliament and one district local government official were able to give their views on the bill before the legal and parliamentary affairs committee of parliament.
He stated that the rest appeared to be a collection of obscure and amorphous groups that include Fronasa veterans, Uganda Association of Uneducated Persons, Kick Age Limit Out of the Constitution and others.
On Friday evening Mabirizi who was praised by the Constitutional court for his research and submissions in the petition, rushed to Court of Appeal where he presented 80 reasons for challenging the verdict of the Constitutional court.
Part of the reasons he says that he was denied a right to a fair hearing, was discriminated in a manner that is not justifiable in a democratic society and was denied a chance to respond to the contribution of the attorney general.
Mabiriizi contends that the court did not decide the fate of the two affidavits of Keith Muhakanizi the Secretary to the Treasury and Gen David Muhoozi, the commander of the defence forces, which allegedly contained hearsay. Mabiriizi adds that he was also denied a chance to cross-examine Muhoozi.
“But since am appealing just part of the judgement that is why am giving the grounds to which I don’t agree with in that judgement. Of course I don’t agree with retaining some provisions of the Act of age limit and others because of procedure. Court is saying procedure was okay. Had they found that the procedure wasn’t okay, then the entire Act had to fall. But they are saying the procedure was okay yet it was not okay,” Mabirizi stated.
Mabirizi, after filing the notice of the Appeal rushed to the Supreme Court registry amidst a tight deadline to avail them with copies as the legal procedures require.
The procedures include the requirement to state all reasons for the appeal and inform the Supreme court as soon as possible in instances where one is not appealing against the whole judgment of the Constitutional court.
Although armed police personnel attempted to block his access to the Supreme court, on grounds that he arrived beyond office time, Mabirizi later succeeded after introducing himself and the motive for his ‘visit’. He now wants the Court of Appeal to declare the entire law as null and void.
“We’re building a country on shaky ground which cannot stand. I have given 80 reasons, actually 80 disagreements with the judges….if you can be able, in just a day to pick 80 mistakes to be challenged, then I don’t know what will happen after 60 days. I want the entire law to be annulled to be declared null and void.”
Source: URN/The Observer