President Yoweri Museveni has dismissed the recent decisions by the Judges of Constitutional court on the extension of the terms of office for MPs and LCs as inconsequential, saying that the MPs could after all carry out the desired constitutional reforms.
Sitting in Mbale, all the five Justices of the Constitutional Court quashed provisions of the Constitutional Amendment Act 2017 that sought to extend the term of the Members of Parliament and Local Councils 3 and 5 from 5 to 7 years.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru observed that: “Parliament may every five years or seven years as set out in the impugned Act, extend its term without having to go for elections, perpetually! Even worse, it could abolish elections and declare its current members to be members for life. Parliament could even abolish the judiciary and vest judicial powers in itself! It could repeal the whole Bill of Rights for the Constitution, as long as it has a majority to do so. It could even abolish the Republic of Uganda and in its stead create a monarchy.”
In his first response since Thursday’s ruling by the Justices of the Constitutional Court President Museveni says: “The Judges are not the ones in charge of the Country. If the NRM MP’s follow my guidelines and bond closely with the people, through wealth and job creation, we can, together with the people, make the necessary Constitutional reforms, Judges or no Judges.”
For More on the Age Limit Debate, read
Below is the full extract of the president’s statement on the ruling on the Constitutional Court ruling.
“Unfortunately, our Judges in Uganda spend more time on form and not substance, on procedure and not substance. My freedom fighter’s sense of justice, in this matter, focuses more on the convenience of 7 years rather than 5 years.
With the 5 years, a lot of time is spent on electioneering and less time on development – the 1st two years settling in, the 3rd year some work in the Constituency and, then, by the 4th year, electioneering again. In the end, however, the Judges are not the ones in charge of the Country.
If the NRM MP’s follow my guidelines and bond closely with the people, through wealth and job creation, we can, together with the people, make the necessary Constitutional reforms, Judges or no Judges.
The Constitution should facilitate the modernization of Uganda and the economic and political integration of Africa for the survival of the people Africa as free people, not just the theatre of democracy of form without addressing substance.
The Judges should have taken into consideration the recent L.C.1 and Women Councils and Committees elections which gave massive victory to the NRM, soon after the age limit and the seven years debate. This was more or less, a referendum.
There was open participation by the millions. We shall harmonies and galvanize our position. The undemocratic age limit nonsense was clear. Nibagaya Engabo oti mwihemu abagurusi? “ How can you say old soldiers should be disqualified when everybody’s efforts are needed because the good soldiers are not enough?”