EACJ denies request in Uganda age limit case

Saturday November 2 2019

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. The president is seeking a sixth term in office in 2021 after being in power for 33 years. PHOTO | UGANDA PRESIDENCY 

PATTY MAGUBIRA
By PATTY MAGUBIRA
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A Ugandan who sought the help of the East African Court of Justice to stop the Uganda government from implementing a law that would allow President Yoweri Museveni to contest the presidency again in 2021 has suffered a blow after the court threw out his objections.

EACJ dismissed Male Mabirizi’s request to strike out a document supporting the response by Uganda’s Attorney General off the court’s record allegedly for being alien to the EAC Treaty and the court’s Rules of Procedure as well as for not being filed and served within the required time.

The Uganda Constitution (Amendment) Act 2018 saw clause 102b on presidential age limit removed, allowing President Museveni to run in 2021.

In his application, Mr Mabirizi said the court provided that a respondent shall be given 45 days after being served a notification of reference to file and serve upon the applicant’s response.

The AG was served a notification on May 3 but he filed the affidavit on June 24, four days after the 45 days had expired, he said as he pleaded with the court to consider the entire response null and void.

Mr Mabirizi said; “On the aspect of time limitations, the response should be struck out as there was not only flouting of time, but also because the Attorney General has been a frequent member of the court.”

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However, the court declined to strike out the affidavit in its entirety by extending time for the AG to file his response.

Mr Mabirizi had asked the court to issue an interim order to restrain the Uganda government, its agencies, bodies, Commissions and any setting from implementing any of the provisions of the Uganda Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2018; halt the implementation of the Uganda Electoral Commission Strategic Plan and Road Map for 2020/2021 electoral period or any related plans as well as the processes and/or preparations for 2020/2021 general elections until final determination of Reference No. 6 of 2019 pending before this Court.”

The processes include undertaking any step in pursuit of amendments to electoral laws to align with the Uganda Constitution (Amendment) Act 2018, recruitment of employees, calling for bids and/or entering contracts, gazetting and publishing of polling stations, displaying and updating of the National Voters Register and issuing of nomination documents.

Mr Mabirizi also contended that he shall suffer irreparable damage if the Act is implemented.

The applicant, Mr Mabirizi appeared in person and the AG, William Byaruhanga, was in court along with Deputy AG, Mwesigwa Rukutana, Mr Ateko, and other senior State Attorneys from the AG’s office.

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