VERDICT: Court Approves Age Limit Removal, Quashes MPs’ Tenure Extention

  • by Dennis Ola
  • July 26, 2018

The constitutional court sitting in Mbale has upheld the amendment of the constitution that lifted the cap on the presidential age.

Four of the five members of the panel said that the amendment of article 102 (b) of the constitution did not contravene the constitution, neither did it contravene parliament’s rules of procedure.

The four; Justice Cheborion Barishaki, Elizabeth Musoke, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo and Remmy Kasule announced the decision during a day-long session held at the High Court in Mbale. Only Kenneth Kakuru differed from his colleagues in the same session, which lasted more than twelve hours.

The Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, the last of the five judges to deliver his judgement observed that framers of the 1995 Constitution never treated article 102 on the qualifications of the president as a fundamental feature of the constitution that required entrenchment.

It was however a unanimous decision when it came to the issue of MPs’ extending their tenure from five to seven years in parliament.

Justice Dollo said: “MPs were subjective to their narrow personal interests above the public good when they pushed for their term in office to be extended. This was a breach in the contract between them and the people according to the law of agency.”

Kakuru dissents 

Earlier Justice Kenneth Kakuru, one of the five justices that delivered the judgment in the Consolidated Petitions against the removal of the Age Limit has said that the amendments relating to the Age Limit were unconstitutional.

This saw several Ugandans on social media praise the 60 year old judicial officer with some changing their names to include Kakuru’s.

The justice says that the petitioners should also be paid costs of the suit.


  1. Hon. Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

Appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2015, he served as a High Court judge from 2008 and was part of President Museveni’s defense (research) team in the 2006 election petition by Dr. Kizza Besigye. He had also served in various political positions both as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister of state. He has handled a number of cases ranging from both criminal and civil. He heard the 2010 Kyadondo terror case where he convicted seven terror suspects.

  1. Hon. Justice Remmy Kasule

He currently serves as the Chairperson, Law Council and became judge of the High Court in 2004 serving at the criminal division and became Justice of the Court of Appeal in 2011. During his time, he held a number of cases of political nature. He is known for his minority ruling that rejected the ejection of NRM ‘rebel’ MPs from parliament having been expelled by the party. He also extended the interim order that halted the treason trial of Nakawa division MP, Hon. Michael Kabaziguruka at the General Court Martial.

  1. Hon. Justice Cheborion Barishaki

He has been a Justice of the Court of Appeal since 2015. Prior to that, he served in the office of the Attorney General and in the Ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs as the director, civil litigation. In 2003, the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs interdicted him on allegations of misrepresentation of the state in a case against it.

  1.  Lady Justice Elizabeth Musoke

She has been a justice of the Court of Appeal since 2015. She became a High Court Judge in 2013 until 2015. She had also served as a Principle state attorney before joining the Inspectorate of Government as the director, Legal Affairs in 1999. On 28th March 2018, one of the parties in the petition submitted a notice of recusal to her on grounds of conflict of interest on allegations of having an affair with the current Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana and Minister Hillary Onek.

  1. Hon. Justice Kenneth Kakuru. He was one of the direct appointments into the judiciary from private practice. He also issued a minority view that all interim orders made by a single judge of the Constitutional Court which are in force were null and void and of no effect in the matter of Murisho Shafi & 4 others against Kalisa & Another (Misc. Application No. 0437 of 2016)13 petitioning the Constitutional Court for a temporary injunction restraining the IGG and Attorney General and prosecution from the Anti-Corruption Court until the petition is determined at the Constitutional Court.