M7 Age Limit Case Flops

The case seeking to declare President Yoweri Museveni Ineligible to contest in the coming 2016 Presidential Elections has flopped again.

Alipanga after the Interview with The Red Pepper at Makerere Guest House on Wednesday (Photo by Alex Bukumunhe)
Alipanga after the Interview with The Red Pepper at Makerere Guest House (Photo by Alex Bukumunhe)

The preliminary hearing of this case first flopped about two weeks ago after the Court of Appeal Registrar Deo Ninzeiyimana failed to turn up and was adjourned to Tuesday May 26, but still Ninzeiyimana was reported to be not in office.

“It has not taken off. The Registrar is attending a Magistrates’ and Registrars’ workshop in Wakiso,” a Court

Clerk who preferred not to be named because he or she is not authorized to speak to the media confirmed yesterday.

Ninzeiyimana was supposed to conduct the scheduling (agreeing on facts and pieces of evidence/documents which are to be relied on in the case) of this case on Tuesday.

This is the first step before the case can be referred to the full panel of five Judges of the Constitutional Court.

The case was filed by former Prime Minister and NRM Secretary General John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s supporter Benjamin Alipanga together with his In-law Hope Mwesigye.

Apart from Museveni’s age, the two are also challenging several NRM Party resolutions including the one made at Kyankwanzi declaring him the sole NRM Presidential flag bearer without going through the party primaries.

“That the resolution passed by the NRM Parliamentary caucus on February 11, 2014 at Kyankwanzi at proceedings attended by the President, urging him as founder leader of the NRM to offer himself as the sole candidate/flag bearer in 2016 general elections when he will not be qualified to serve a full 5-year presidential term due to a physical and constitutional incapacity of age as he will not be able to serve and complete an uninterrupted fixed term of 5 years by the time he clocks the Constitutional age limit of 75 years, is inconsistent with and in contravention of the constitution,” reads in part their amended plaint in the Constitutional Court at Twed Towers Nakasero.

They sued the NRM party, its Secretary General Justine Lumumba Kasule, her deputy Richard Todwong, its treasurer Rosemery Namayanja and deputy Kenneth Omona.

They also sued the National Electoral Commission so that court can block it from nominating President Museveni as a candidate in the 2016 elections and the Attorney General

Through their lawyer of Mugisha and Company Advocates, Akampurira and Partners Advocates, Muwema and Company Advocates and Twinobusingye Severino and Company Advocates, the Mbabazi-leanning group claims the Constitution under article 102 stipulates the qualifications of the president and states that he should be between the age of 35 and 75.

The further reason that article 105 gives a president a term of office of five years and not less or more.

The assert that basing on those two articles, president Museveni cannot take on the next term since by 2018 he will be clocking 75 years making him not qualified to complete the his term.

“Article 75 provides for removal of the president on physical incapacity among other reasons. When the president clocks 75 in 2018, he will have attained a physical incapacity of age and therefore liable to be removed under this article,” they stated in their affidavits in support of their case.

The group also asserts that being a president is a social contract between the people of Uganda and that president yet the law on contract prohibits any person or company from entering any contract where he has no capacity to perform it.

“Section 11 of the contracts’ act states that a person must have capacity not only to enter into a contract but also to have capacity to perform it to its duration and completion. In this case president Museveni has capacity to enter into the social contract with the people of Uganda but has no capacity to complete that social contract as he will attain the mandatory age limit midway the performance of that social contract thus becoming ineligible to continue to the end,” they stated.

The pro-Mbabazi group further asserts that even the presidential oath will expire on the president midway his term of office thus making him working outside it if he is allowed to continue.

“The President swears to uphold, protect and preserve the constitution and the Constitution mandates him to retire when he becomes 75. The same Constitution gives him a full term of five years and not less. Choosing to retire or to continue serving beyond 2018 would be going against his presidential oath. It is only this (Constitutional) Court that can save the nation from this embarrassment and uncertainty,” the two state in their court documents.

However another NRM group has also filed a Constitutional Petition seeking to declare the Age-Limit clause in the Constitution discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. The case was adjourned to July 25, 2015.