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MABIRIZI MARCHES FORWARD TO BLOCK MUSEVENI AS COURT SETS DATE FOR HIS SHOWDOWN WITH AG BYARUHANGA, STATE LAWYERS

By Mulengera Reporter

Firebrand lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka is making progress in his case against Uganda’s Attorney General (AG) William Byaruhanga over the controversial December 2017 age limit removal.

Mabirizi filed an application in the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) in May 2019, challenging the validity of Uganda’s Constitutional (Amendment) Act No. 1 of 2018 that saw the age limit clause hewed off Uganda’s Constitution.

His application came only two months after the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional Court judgement that Parliament had followed the law in knocking the clause off the Constitution.

Now, in their third decision received by Mabirizi on February 25, the EACJ has set a date for the hearing of the lawyer’s petition. In a letter dated February 14, the Registrar of the regional court notified Mabirizi and seven others that their case had been fixed for hearing on Wednesday, March 18, starting at 9:30am in Arusha, Tanzania.

“Please note that if there is no appearance on your part, the court shall proceed with the case and make orders your absence notwithstanding,” said the registrar in his notice.

Last week, court ruled that it had jurisdiction to handle the matter, throwing out an argument by AG Byaruhanga and his team that had argued that the EACJ lacked the authority over the case since two Ugandan courts had decided on the matter.

Last week, a five-judge bench comprising Justice Monica Mugenyi, Deputy Principal Judge Justice Faustin Ntezilayo, Justice Audace Ngiye, Justice Charles Nyawello and Justice Charles Nyachae insisted EACJ had the jurisdiction to handle Mabirizi’s application.

But weeks earlier, the same bench had declined to grant Mabirizi’s request to block the Electoral Commission’s 2020/2021 election roadmap.

In their decision issued at the start of February, the judges ruled: “It is clear that the electoral timetable is quite constrained and to halt any part of it for any length of time would certainly throw the electoral cycle into disarray with obvious political, social and economic not to mention constitutional ramifications.”

When the hearing starts next month, Mabirizi and seven other Ugandans are expected to face Byaruhanga and the State legal team in a legal battle whose final decision will determine the confidence Ugandans have in the EACJ. The judgement at the end of the hearing will also have implications on Uganda’s political future, especially as regards the alleged President Yoweri Museveni Life Presidency Project. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

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