Uganda: Age Limit Case - Lawyers to Grill Kadaga, Muhoozi

The five justices of the court will commence with submissions of the petitioners including Uganda Law Society and Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, who represents Members of Parliament challenging the amendment (file photo).

As the hearing of the age limit petition kicks off in the Constitutional Court today, the petitioners intend to ask court to summon Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, and Chief of Defence Forces David Muhoozi for cross-examination regarding the passing of the contested law in the House.

According to sources privy to the case, the petitioners want to cross-examine the trio for the role they played in the process of debating and passing the controversial age limit Bill late last year.

"At the commencement of the hearing of the petition, the counsel for the petitioners shall move court for leave to cross-examine all the witnesses who have sworn affidavits in support of the respondent's (Attorney General) answer to the petition," reads the petitioners' notice to court.

The sources further stated that Ms Kadaga will be cross- examined on the entire process of debating and passing the age limit law since she superintended over the proceedings that sparked off violence in the national assembly.

Gen Muhoozi will be interrogated on his affidavit supporting the Attorney General's response to the age limit petition.

In the affidavit, Gen Muhoozi admits having sent soldiers to Parliament during the chaotic tabling of the age limit Bill in September last year.

He argues that he sent soldiers as an emergency after the police sought military reinforcement.

Muhoozi role

The lawyers will cross-examine Gen Muhoozi to explain what kind of emergency it was to warrant deployment of soldiers at the national assembly building as MPs debated the controversial law.

"In response to paragraphs 18, 20 (a) (d) and (f) of the affidavit of Hon. Semujju Ibrahim Nganda, I know that the UPDF was deployed at Parliament under the command and control of the Uganda Police Force with the object of aiding civil authority," Gen Muhoozi states in his affidavit.

"I know that under Article 209 (b), the UPDF can ensure civil public control compliance under the command of the police and in that regard, the UPDF supported the Parliamentary police in ensuring there was harmony and calm during the proceedings in Parliament when some members disobeyed the orders of the Speaker of Parliament and turned violent," he further states.

The petitioners' lawyers will also cross-examine Mr Muhakanizi on why he endorsed the Certificate of Financial Implication to support a private members Bill.

Likewise, the Clerk to Parliament, Ms Jane Kibirige, is also expected to be summoned for cross-examination.

The petitioners in the consolidated age limit suit are the Uganda Law Society, six opposition MPs led by Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Winfred Kiiza, Mr Male Mabirizi, former presidential candidate Abed Bwanika, and another citizen, Mr Prosper Businge.

Sources further said among the preliminary objections the petitioners intend to raise today is an application by Mr Mabirizi seeking to have Justice Elizabeth Musoke removed from the five-member panel who will hear the case. Mr Male accuses Justice Musoke of conflict of interest.

The other justices on the panel are Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Remmy Kasule, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru.

The contentious issues

mbale. As the hearing of the age limit petition kicks off in the Constitutional Court today, the petitioners intend to ask court to summon Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, and Chief of Defence Forces David Muhoozi for cross-examination regarding the passing of the contested law in the House.

According to sources privy to the case, the petitioners want to cross-examine the trio for the role they played in the process of debating and passing the controversial age limit Bill late last year.

"At the commencement of the hearing of the petition, the counsel for the petitioners shall move court for leave to cross-examine all the witnesses who have sworn affidavits in support of the respondent's (Attorney General) answer to the petition," reads the petitioners' notice to court.

The sources further stated that Ms Kadaga will be cross- examined on the entire process of debating and passing the age limit law since she superintended over the proceedings that sparked off violence in the national assembly.

Gen Muhoozi will be interrogated on his affidavit supporting the Attorney General's response to the age limit petition.

In the affidavit, Gen Muhoozi admits having sent soldiers to Parliament during the chaotic tabling of the age limit Bill in September last year.

He argues that he sent soldiers as an emergency after the police sought military reinforcement.

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