Supreme Court declines to summon Kadaga over age limit case

Saturday December 15 2018

 Speaker  Rebecca Kadaga

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga 


KAMPALA- The Supreme Court has thrown out an application that had sought to have the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, summoned to court to explain her role in passing the Age Limit Bill.

The Bill was passed into law amidst fist-fights by Members of Parliament and security forces.

 The seven justices of the highest court in the land, on Friday held that if they allowed the applicant (lawyer Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka) to argue out his application, the same would be pre-emptive of the final outcome of the main appeal which is before them and yet similar concerns were raised in  written submissions.

Led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, the justices went on to describe Mr Mabirizi's application as an 'abuse of court process.'

"Issue No.7 framed for trial by this court covers those grounds of appeal and this application is indeed pre-emptive of the issues which should not be allowed," Justice Katureebe said on behalf of his colleagues.

He said: "We consider this to be an abuse of court process because submissions have already been made on these grounds and court is required to pronounce itself on them and in the result, this application is dismissed."

The other justices are ; Stella Arach-Amoko, Rubby Opio-Aweri, Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, Paul Mugamba, Jotham Tumwesigye and Eldad Mwangusya who read out the ruling on behalf of his colleagues.

The application arose from the failure of the Constitutional Court that sat in the Eastern district of Mbale earlier this year, to summon Ms Kadaga as was requested by Mr Mabirizi at the beginning  Age Limit petition hearing.

The Constitutional Court judges headed by Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, found no ground to summon the Speaker saying they would give reasons in the final judgment which they didn't.

Being dissatisfied with the non-responsiveness of the Constitutional Court, Mr Mabirizi appealed before the Supreme Court, which has since dismissed the request, saying it’s pre-emptive of the final appeal which is yet to be determined.

Mr Mabirizi wanted Ms Kadaga to explain among other issues; why she made a resolution to close out some members of the public from accessing the gallery during the heated debate of the age limit Bill; why she convened Parliament in a “blood-stained” chamber and proceed to grant leave to introduce a Private Member's Bill and yet an hour before, it had been turned into a theatre of violence.

Mr Mabirizi also wanted court to ask the Speaker the rationale she used to entertain the Raphael Magyezi’s age limit motion which was filed later than that of Hon. Patrick Nsamba-seeking a resolution of Parliament and Executive to institute a Constitutional Review Commission and yet it was clear that Magyezi’s motion was intended to defeat the earlier motion.

 Also in their ruling on Friday, the justices faulted Mr Mabirizi's affidavits in support of his application saying they fell short of Order 19 Rule 3 of the Civil Procedure Rules as they were argumentative, narrative and contained hearsay and conjectures.

The justices went on to clarify that an affidavit is meant to adduce evidence and not to argue the application as Mr Mabirizi had done and that they were unnecessarily long.

They went on to observe that Mr Mabirizi's affidavits contained 94 paragraphs, his supplementary affidavits contained 67 paragraphs and the rejoinder contained 103 paragraphs, making a total of 264 paragraphs.

"We find that the affidavits of the application fell short of meeting this standard. They argue the case instead of laying down the evidence to be relied on in deciding the application,” they held.

After the reading of the ruling, Mr Mabirizi vowed to file shorter affidavits in the course of next week so that the justices don't have anything reason to fault him.