The hearing and final determination of the presidential age limit appeals now pending at the Supreme Court have started to take shape, Daily Monitor has learnt.
Sources say the acting registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr Godfrey Opifeni, and Secretary to the Judiciary, Mr Kagole Kivumbi, are set to meet on Thursday next week to discuss the work plan and budget for the grand hearing.
“In addition, the work plan/budget for handling the appeal was forwarded to the …Chief Justice and the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Judiciary, has invited the undersigned (Acting Supreme Court registrar Anguandia Godfrey Opifeni) to discuss the same on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at 8:30am,” an internal memo signed by Mr Opifeni reads in part.
The scheduled meeting between the two officials was prompted by a letter by one of the appellants in the age limit appeal, Mr Male Mabirizi.
Mr Mabirizi had in his August 28 letter to the Supreme Court pleaded: “I hereby request for an early pre-trial and hearing dates for the appeal given the fact that this is a constitutional appeal whose outcome will determine who will or who will not participate in the upcoming general election of 2021.” “This means that time is of essence to know the fate of the same provisions of the Constitution Amendment Act No. 1 of 2018, which allowed the current President to stand in 2021 and yet he would not qualify without this now uncertain amendment,” the letter adds.
On July 26, the Constitutional Court, in a unanimous decision, struck down the two-year term of office extension of the current MPs and local council leaders.
The court also in a majority decision of 4:1, upheld the scrapping of the age limit clause (Article 102b) from the Constitution.
When this newspaper contacted Mr Solomon Muyita, the senior communications officer of the Judiciary, last evening, he said he is not aware of such scheduled meeting between the two officials.
He, however, added that such meeting will be on after the 50 days of filing appeals and their records has elapsed, later next month.
The implication of the Mbale judgment currently is that President Museveni and any other Ugandans who will at the next polls be above 75 years, are eligible to contest for presidency.
The judgment also means that the next general election will be held in 2021 and not in 2023 as the 317 MPs had voted to have their term in office extended by two more years.