Uganda Law Society Petitions Court over Age Limit Law

  • Posted on: 15 January 2018
  • By: Sanyu FM

The Uganda Law Society has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking to anull the newly enacted Age-limit law that saw the removal of the 35-75 year age restriction on Ugandans interested in contesting for the Presidency. Through its President Francis Gimara, renowned law Professor Fredrick Ssempbewa and the Agago North MP Professor Morris Ogenga Latigo, Uganda Law Society says it's aggrieved with the whole process that facilitated the passing of the age-limit bill in parliament on 20th December 2017. The group highlights incidences like the invasion of parliament by security officials, and the assault and arrest of several Members of Parliament, as well as they call intolerance and partisan behaviour of security agencies, and failure to comprehensively consult citizens on the matter, as the basis on which they are challenging the law. Gimara and his colleagues are also challenging Article 8 of the Constitution which extends the current tenure of MPs and Local Government councillors by an additional two years, saying it's a breach of contract since all MPs and councillors took oath in May 2016 to serve their electorate for only 5 years until May 2021. They contend that because of this constitutional divergence, it will now require the Electoral commission to separately hold presidential and parliamentary elections, which will have serious financial implications for the tax payer. For this matter, the lawyers are asking the Constitutional court to declare that it was unconstitutional for Parliament to pass a private members bill, whose effect is to have payments made from the consolidated fund, to facilitate the extended tenure of office for MPs and Councillors. The lawyers want court to further declare that having limitations on holding public office is the core spirit of constitutionalism in a free and democratic society.