Mabirizi Takes Government to East African Court Of Justice Over Age Limit

Kassim Male Mabirizi, a city lawyer has pushed Uganda government to the East African Court of Justice over the age limit law, as he promised earlier after the recent Supreme Court verdict.

In a 4:3 majority judgement last month by the Supreme Court judges, the age limit petition challenging the Constitutional Court verdict filed by lawyer Male Mabirizi, six opposition members and the Uganda Law Society was ruled out.

And verified the Constitutional Court ruling that upheld age limit clauses from the Constitution of Uganda by Legislature.

This verdict however, left the three parties that filed the petition unsatisfied and vowed to petition the East African Court of Justice.

In his argument, Mabirizi says Legislature, Executive and Judiciary’s decisions, directives and other attempts in framing, processing, pursuing and upholding of the age limit amendments violated the East African Community treaty provisions.

“The actions of curtailing and undermining Uganda citizens’ participation in their Constitutional amendment process through preventing the application (Mabirizi) access to parliament’s gallery, and failure to take all reasonable steps in the circumstances to ensure public participation of all Ugandans in the Constitutional Amendment process was a violation of their rights,” Mabirizi’s petition states.

“Using the police and the military to disperse meetings organised by members of parliament and other political players to enhance public participation of citizens was a violation of their right.” He added.

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In Mabirizi’s view, involving the Army in partisans’ politics alongside devaluing legislators’ fundamental rights against torture, degrading and inhuman treatment was not fair.

He continued to state that amending the Constitution amidst threats and violence lessened the integrity of parliament.

Mabirizi says approving the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 2017 (the age limit) by president Museveni, which was passed by legislature on Dec 20 into law infringed Uganda’s laws.

“Assenting to the bill by the president on strength of an invalid certificate of compliance and in absence of proof that 14 sitting days were separated between the 2nd &3rd readings contravened and undermined the fundamental and operational principles of the community which include good governance including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency and the maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights,” Mabirizi noted.

Additionally, he says Courts moves to uphold the age limit amendment which he termed as illegal processes breached the law.

“The actions and decision of Uganda Constitution and Supreme Courts contravene and undermine the fundamental and operational principles of the community which include good governance including adherence to principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as the maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights.”