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Age Limit: Lawyer Mabirizi Returns to Supreme Court Accusing Judges of Bias

Lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has filed a petition seeking nullification of last week’s majority judgement of the Supreme Court which upheld the removal of the Presidential age limit.

In his application number 6 of 2019 filed at the Supreme Court this morning, Mabirizi accuses three of the four judges that upheld the lower court decision, of having conflict of interest in the matter since “they have an attachment to President Museveni who was the beneficiary of this amendment.”

The lawyer claims that Justice Jotham Tumwesigye is an old friend of the President having studied with him at Ntare School and worked as Director Legal Affairs at the NRM Secretariat, a political structure chaired by the President.

He adds that during his tenure as the Inspectorate General of Government (IGG), Tumwesigye worked closely with Justice Elizabeth Musoke, one of the judges that upheld the amendment at the Constitutional Court level.

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Mabirizi further alleges that Justice Stella Arach Amoko was not competent to sit on the Supreme Court panel being that her husband Idule Amoko is a diplomatic appointee of the president — an Ambassador at the African Union.

In the same application Mabirizi accuses the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe of failure to step aside from this matter saying that by the time of writing this judgment he had bodily infirmity.

He claims the Chief Justice “didn’t write his judgment and even failed to read it to the public” last week.

Mabirizi adds that Justice Katureebe contradicted his own decisions in BESIGYE V. MUSEVENI, Presidential election Petition number one of 2006, and JULIUS RWABINUMI V. HOPE BAHIMBISIBWE, Supreme Court Civil Appeal No. 10 of 2009, when he ruled that court cannot grant remedies which are not pleaded by parties.

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“Failure to order reimbursement by the respondent, a government, at least the disbursements to the applicant, a citizen, in a matter which was unanimously found to be in public interest has a chilling effect on the future filing of such appeals by citizens, especially the young generation like the applicant”

As such, Mabirizi wants the Supreme Court to select among its other judges to handle this matter once more.

“It is in the interest of protecting the sanctity of our Constitution, promotion of fair hearing and rule of law that the application be granted the application has been brought without delay. The application has been made in good faith without any ill intentions”

Last week the four justices of Supreme court upheld the ruling of constitutional court that sat in Mbale last year where majority judges made a finding that the age limit constitutional amendment was done in conformity with the law.

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