Judge exonerates Speaker from age limit chaos in Parliament

By Our Reporter

One of the members of the five-judge panel that heard age limit petition in April this year says the involvement of the army in Parliament during Age limit debate was justified.
Justice Cheborion Barishaki, while reading his verdict on Thursday said the justification was because there were life-threatening incidents in Parliament.

“It is evidenced from exhibited proceeding in Hansard that the majority were in no mood to listen to the wise counsel of the minority, and were determined to have their way. I do not agree with the petitioners that the involvement of the army in Parliament was unjustified. There were life-threatening incidents in Parliament and therefore it was justified for the army to be called in to support the police,” he said.
Justice Barishaki also faulted the MPs for not heeding Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s call to order.

He said the Speaker acted within her powers and therefore cannot be faulted for the forceful removal of MPs from the Chambers.
“The treatment of the members of Parliament was inhumane and contradicted Article 21 of the Constitution. I find that the treatment of MPs was unjustifiable, for the directive of the Speaker was to remove the MPs and not to detain them,” he added.


In his judgment, Justice Barishaki condemned the MPs for extending their term of Parliament and LCs from 5 to 7 years.
“These provisions were passed in disregard of various provisions of the Constitution and Parliament rules of procedure. By extending its term to seven years, Parliament denied the people of Uganda access to leadership positions of Member of Parliament in 2021 in contravention of the Constitution,” he said.

He described the amendments to automatically extend the term of Parliament effective this term as “selfish…legal manoeuvres”.
According to him, absence of public participation in law-making processes is bound to invalidate any law.

Further, he faulted police for blocking consultative meetings of Members of Parliament, especially from the Opposition.

“I find the obnoxious directive issued by AIGP Asuman Mugenyi (curtailing members of Parliament from consulting) obnoxious. It was recklessly and wantonly issued without any regard to the law… In my view the directive was recklessly and wantonly issued without a clear understanding of the law yet it was issued by a custodian of the law,” he said.


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