Citizens Petition Constitutional Court over Removal of Age Limits

Citizens Petition Constitutional Court over Removal of Age Limits

By Serestino Tusingwire

Three citizens have petitioned the Constitutional court challenging the mandatory retirement of public servants, including the president, saying it’s discriminatory.

The petitioners, who have mentioned the attorney general as the only respondent, are Yasin Omar, Peter Ndyomugenyi and Mable Namutebi.

In the petition lodged on September 30, 2016, the trio is challenging articles 102 (b) and 108(4) of the constitution, which blocks a person who has attained 75 years from standing for president.

The petition comes weeks after parliament shelved Hon. Kafeero Ssekitoleko’s controversial bill that sought to raise the retirement age of judges and remove a limit on the terms electoral commissioners can serve.

Critics opposed the bill, suspecting it was a strategy to amend article 102 (b) of the constitution and remove the 75-year cap on the president’s age limit.

According to the petitioners, the restrictions are discriminatory and amount to ageism, and therefore advocate for retirement based on physical and mental capability to perform duties.

“We believe retirement based on age should be voluntary and only after due evaluation and consideration of an individual’s mental and physical capacity to perform the specific task or job and not mandatory as it infringes on other fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1995 constitution,” they argue.

Petitioners believe that mandatory retirement of judicial officers on the basis of age is to blame on the worsened case backlog in courts.