KAMPALA–As the Parliamentary Legal Affairs committee is at the final stage of scrutinizing the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017, which seeks to remove presidential age limits, Dr. Abedi Bwanika, a former Presidential candidate, has gone to Constitutional Court to halt the process.
Bwanika through his lawyers is in court among other things, seeking an injunction on the process conducted by Parliament, arguing that that the parliamentary process cannot proceed since the Electoral Commission had granted him permission to collect signatures from Ugandans who want a referendum held to determine whether the presidential age limit should be removed or not.
“I want court to determine whether Parliament can go ahead with processing the constitutional amendment bill before the referendum process is concluded,” Bwanika, who is also the president of People’s Development Party, said.
Bwanika’s move to seek an injunction comes at a time when plans are underway to present the legal affairs committee report for second reading when Parliament resumes business on Tuesday next week after a short recess. The committee concluded its hearings last week on Tuesday, with a draft report.
Once Bwanika succeeds in securing a court injunction, Parliament will have to obey the court orders and stop further deliberations on the amendment bill.
In June, the Electoral Commission granted permission to Bwanika to collect signatures from Ugandans for a referendum on Article 102 (b) of the Constitution.
Some legislators, however, punched holes in Bwanika’s move, arguing that it is targeted to weaken the independence and powers of Parliament.
“The people of Uganda gave us the mandate to decide for them on this contentious issue. Therefore, I know those pushing to amend the article 102(b) of the Constitution have realized that they don’t have the numbers needed in Parliament. And they have decided to use a referendum but we shall defeat them,” said Ibrahim Kasozi, the Makindye East legislator.