Age limit case: Lawyer Mabirizi files 32,000 pages of documents

Thursday October 17 2019

Pledge. Left to right: Mr Simon Wanyera, an

Pledge. Left to right: Mr Simon Wanyera, an activist, and lawyers Male Mabirizi and Isaac Ssemakadde before filing documents at the Supreme Court in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

Ahead of the hearing of the presidential age limit case by the East African Court of Justice, the petitioner, Mr Male Mabirizi, yesterday filed a whopping 32,850 pages of authorities that he will be referring to in his arguments.

Mr Mabirizi filed the authorities at the regional court’s division housed at the Supreme Court in Kololo, Kampala.

The regional court, based in Arusha, Tanzania, has set October 29 to October 30 as the days it will hold a pre-hearing of the presidential age limit case or reference filed by Mr Mabirizi.

“It is time to show the judges from the five East African countries that the dictator here, who has been around for 33 years, uses violence, non-compliance, and all crooked means to remain in power, so it is their time to rule on the same,” Mr Mabirizi, who had wrapped the Ugandan flag around his chest, told journalists.

“I am filing these 32,000 pages of authorities here at the court’s division and thereafter, I set off to Arusha in Tanzania by bus because I cannot afford an air ticket. My first argument will be to ask the regional court to halt the 2021 presidential elections until my reference is heard because they cannot leave the elections to go on yet I am challenging the candidature of one of the contestants,” he said.

The pre-trial, legally called ‘scheduling conference’, will be heard by a panel of five justices led by Principal Judge Monica Mugenyi.
Mr Mabirizi, in his reference filed in May, claims that the Uganda government amended the presidential age limit clauses (102b) through violence and deployment of military police in and outside Parliament, among other misdeeds, which he says are unconstitutional.

Advertisement

He also states that the same age limit amendment was done without complying with the strict procedures contained in the Constitution, acts of Parliament and rules of procedure of Parliament.
He now wants the regional court to among others, declare that the several actions and decisions of conceptualising, processing, pursuing and upholding the age limit amendment were unconstitutional and infringed on the treaty that established the East African Community.

But the government in its defence says the Arusha-based court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the age limit case.
The government further claims that the issues raised by Mr Mabirizi have since been duly resolved by competent courts of the partner states and there is no need to revisit them.

Background

Judgment. In April, in a majority judgment of 4:3, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Constitutional Court that okayed the amendment of Article 102(b) to scrap the upper age limit cap of 75 years and lower age cap of 35 for anyone to contest for presidency.

The Supreme Court’s decision also gave leeway to President Museveni, who has been in power for 33 years, to contest for presidency as many times as he wishes.
The four justices who upheld the decision of the Constitutional Court are Bart Katureebe, Arach-Amoko, Jotham Tumwesigye and Rubby Opio-Aweri.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

Advertisement