By Max Patrick Ocaido
KAMPALA. Male Hassan Mabirizi Kiwanuka, one of the petitioners who challenged the 'age limit' Constitutional Amendment Act of 2017, has filed a record 30,000 page appeal challenging the verdict of the Constitutional court.
On Monday morning, Mabirizi checked into the Supreme Court aboard a pickup truck loaded with huge files containing his memorandum of appeal. The record 30,696 page appeal expounds on his 80 grounds that he faults court during the age limit judgment last month at Mbale High Court.
Last month, the judges except Justice Kenneth Kakuru ruled that MPs constitutionally amended article 102(b) to remove upper presidential age limit, but unanimously ruled that the reinstatement of presidential term limits and extension of MPs’ tenure from 5 to 7years was unconstitutional.
In particular, Justice Cheborion Barishaki in his ruling said that the MPs acted in selfishness and were serving their interests by extending their term in office from 5 to 7 years with immediate effect. He quelled the MPs’ decision to also amend article 77(3) and 181(4) of the Constitution to extend term of office of MPs and Local Council chairpersons from 5 to 7years respectively.
“Parliament did not have authority to amend this section without considering other sections of this constitution. They are unconstitutional and therefore fall by the wayside,” he said.
Barishaki added, “It was selfish and goes against the principle of good governance. If it had been done in the will of good governance then it would have taken effect in next parliament. Therefore, these provisions were passed in disregard of various provisions of the constitution and parliament rules of procedure.”
In his notice of appeal that was filed in late July, Mabirizi says that he is partly dissatisfied with the court ruling and listed 80 ‘mistakes’ to justify his appeal. Among the grounds include; being denied a right to a fair hearing, discriminated in a manner that is not justifiable in a democratic society and denied a chance to respond to the contribution of the attorney general. Mabiriizi also 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 Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), which allegedly contained hearsay. Mabirizi adds that he was also denied a chance to cross-examine the CDF.
Six opposition legislators led by their lawyer, Erias Lukwago of M/s Lukwago and Co. Advocates in the same consolidated petition have also issued notice of appeal and are soon expected to present their appeal. The MPs include; Gerald Karuhanga, Winfred Kiiza, Jonathan Odur, Mubarak Munyangwa, Allan Ssewanyana and Ibrahim Ssemujju.