Age Limit Bill: Makerere Law Dons Decline to Appear Before Parliamentary Committee

Makere University School of Law Lecturer, Professor Oloka - Onyango

Makerere University law dons have turned down an invitation by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee for discussion of the age limit amendment bill.

The private member’s bill tabled by Igara East MP, Raphael Magyezi seeks to lift the cap on the age of a Presidential candidate ( 35 – 75 ) by deleting article 102(b) of the supreme law of Uganda.

21 law dons in a 23rd October letter to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chairman, Jacob Oboth-Oboth said they will not participate in discussing the bill.

They say their appearance before the committee would provide credence to the bill whose “legitimacy and legality are completely untenable and demonstrably unfounded.”

The dons also disagree with the Legal And Parliamentary Affairs committee over conducting hearings on the controversial bill.

The letter signed by, among others, Prof. Oloka Onyango, Dr. Busingye Kakumba and Christopher Mbaziira asked the committee to disassociate itself from the constitution amendment process.

“We would thus strongly urge your committee to disassociate itself from a process which seeks to unravel the democratic pillars and principles constructed by framers of the 1995 Constitution…we therefore regret that we cannot be party to such a process and respectfully decline your invitation,” read the letter.
They advised the committee to carefully reflect on the constitutional and political ramifications of engaging in a process that they say is tainted with a patent distortion of our constitutional order.

The law dons say that the bill “stands in the way of the first peaceful transfer of presidential power since the attainment of independence in 1962. They are of the view that the Magyezi bill violates all the principles of a constitutional democracy and particularly, the twin doctrines of the rule of law and the separation of powers”

In a statement issued on October 3rd, the law dons asked parliament to shelve Magyezi’s constitutional amendment bill.

The letter is a response to the invitation by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

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