Age limit: Security tightened ahead of petition hearing in Mbale

By Ruth Anderah

Security has been tightened at the Mbale High Court ahead of the age-limit petition hearing which kicks off today.

Both plain clothed and police officers in uniform have been deployed to guard the court premises which have already been searched and cleared by police sniffer dogs.

The traffic flow has also been diverted with no passenger vehicle allowed on the road near the court premises.

In today’s hearing, 13 issues are to be determined by the Constitutional Court including whether it is lawful for the current MPs and LC5 chairpersons to extend their term of office from 5-7 years, the invasion of security personnel in parliamentary chambers during the debating of the age-limit bill and whether or not the whole process that led to the passing of the entire Bill was lawful among others.

The age-limit law which lifted the maximum presidential age-limit cap from 75 was assented to by president M7 on December 27,

2018.

This law has since been met with stiff resistance from various sections of the public, thus prompting the petitioners including the Uganda Law society, 6 opposition party MPs and a one Male Mabirizi to ask the Constitutional court to annul it.

The petitions are to be handled by five justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny -Dollo.

Meanwhile, petitioners challenging the controversial age limit law are now seeking to have three senior government officials summoned for cross examination as hearing kicks off in Mbale this morning.

The petitioners intend to ask court to summon the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Secretary to the treasury Keith Muhanizi and Chief of Defence Forces David Muhoozi regarding the passing of the contested law in the House.

The petitioners want to cross examine the trio for the role played in the process of debating and passing of the controversial age limit bill late last year.

Kadaga is expected to be cross examined on the entire process of debating and passing the age limit law since she presided over the proceedings that sparked off violence in the national assembly.

Gen Muhoozi on the other hand will be interrogated on his affidavit supporting the Attorney General’s response to the age limit petition. He will be expected to explain the kind of emergency that warranted deployment of soldiers at parliament as MPs debated the controversial bill.

While Muhakanizi will be cross examined on why he endorsed the Certificate of Financial Implication to support a private member’s bill.