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Wednesday,September 23,2020 05:44 AM

Mabirizi withdraws age limit appeal

By Farooq Kasule

Added 23rd July 2020 11:57 AM

Mabirizi withdraws age limit appeal

City lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi. Photo/File

AGE LIMIT |MABIRIZI | COURT

Controversial lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has withdrawn an application in which he wanted the Supreme Court to set aside the majority judgment in the age limit case.

Mabirizi withdrew the application on Wednesday but did not advance any reason for receding the case.  

"Since the Attorney General had not yet filed any response to this application, I invite the court to be pleased to allow me withdraw it with no orders to the costs," Mabirizi submitted.

This prompted justices Dr Esther Kisaakye, Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba, Mike Chibita, Percy Night Tuhaise, Rubby Apio Aweri and Prof Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza to close it. 

 A panel of Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe. Photo by Nicholas Oneal
A panel of Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe. Photo by Nicholas Oneal

Background

On April 29, 2019, the Supreme Court in a 4:3 majority judgment dismissed an appeal against the Constitutional Court verdict in which it Okayed the removal of the presidential age limit.

Majority justices of the court ruled that despite several breaches which occurred during the tabling, debating and passing of the bill, it had no substantive effect on the process of the entire enactment of the Constitutional amendment Act no.1 of 2018.

Chief Justice emeritus Bart Katureebe, Stella Arach Amoko, Rubby Aweri and Jotham Tumwesigye dismissed the appeal while Eldad Mwangusya, Lilian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza and Paul Mugamba dissented.

 Supreme Court judges hearing the Age Limit appeals in Kampala in April 2019. Photo/File
Supreme Court judges hearing the Age Limit appeals in Kampala in April 2019. Photo/File


Being dissatisfied with verdict, Mabirizi petitioned the same court to review the majority decision arguing that it was allegedly flawed.

Although Mabirizi did not advance any reason for withdrawing the matter, his decision is likely to have been motivated by his appeal at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).

On May 3 last year, Mabirizi filed a reference at the EACJ seeking a declaration that the process of passing and assenting to the age limit Act did not comply with Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community.

Mabirizi claims that the government amended the presidential age limit clauses (102b) in the Constitution by use of violence and deployment of military police in and outside Parliament which he says is unconstitutional.

Uganda MPs fight in Parliament

He purports that the age limit amendment was done without complying with the strict procedures contained in the Constitution, acts of Parliament and rules of procedure of Parliament.

Mps fighting in Parliament in protest of the age limit bill in 2018

Mabirizi wants the regional court to declare that the several actions and decision of upholding the age limit amendment were unconstitutional and infringed on the treaty that established the East African Community.

However, Solicitor General Francis Atoke wants court to dismiss the application saying it will derail the country's election road map.

The government says that the court has no jurisdiction to hear case because the issues raised Mabirizi in the matter have since been resolved by competent courts in the country and there is no need for a retrial.

The government argues that in April last year, 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.

East African court heard the matter via zoom technology last week and the judgment was reserved on notice.

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