The newly sworn in Deputy Chief justice Owiny Dollo today held a meeting with lawyers involved in a constitutional petition which was filed by Benjamin Alipanga, a Ugandan citizen challenging President Museveni’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential elections due to the age factor.
In this petition, Alipanga argued that President Museveni would exceed the constitutional age limit of 75 years, mid his fifth term in office if allowed to stand.
In the petition, he asked the court to provide an interpretation for Article 102 on the age limit, and also asked the court to issue an injunction against parliament making any changes in the Article pending completion of the case.
Recently he wrote to parliament contesting its decision to entertain an amendment bill tabled by one of its members to change this same article.
This morning, the petitioner (Alipanga), his lawyers from Muwema and Company Advocates as well as the respondents’ lawyers who included Martin Mwambushya from the office of the Attorney General, held a closed door meeting with the head of the Constitutional Court, Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo to fast track the petition which is one of the oldest before this court.
Later on while addressing reporters on issues discussed, Justice Dollo started by apologizing for the delay of the petition hearing.
“This matter has taken 2 years without being heard which is unacceptable. I apologize and promise my tenure, such instances will be avoided. All cases must be handled expeditiously,” he said.
Dollo added that while most of the matters before the Constitutional Court are political in nature, the court would do everything possible to handle them fast.
The Deputy Chief Justice, gave both parties in this petition one week to make consultations on how they want to proceed with the petition, after which they will hold a joint meeting to harmonize their positions and later inform court on whether or not to proceed to hearing.
Fred Muwema, one of the petitioner’s lawyers told reporters that they will use this period to clean up their petition since most of the grounds seem to have been overtaken by events.
He added that considering that the Attorney General sent two lawyers to today’s meeting, he would once against write to speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga, asking her to stop the process of amending Article 102 since this petition is now before court.