Uganda: Age Limit - Muhakanizi and Nambooze Cross-Examined

Winfred Kiiza, the leader of the opposition in parliament, centre, struggles to control tears as she engages a police officer in Mbale after police officers fired teargas to disperse an age limit rally.

Kampala, Uganda — The permanent secretary and secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakinizi says Bukhooli North MP Gaster Mugoya Kyawa requested for a certificate of financial implications regarding a referendum on extending the presidential term to from five to seven years.

Muhakanizi says the ministry of finance prepared a certificate of financial implications following a letter dated December 18th, 2017 regarding the possibility of holding a referendum.

The ministry issued a certificate a day later.

For the record, I am the accounting officer of the whole nation (Uganda)... I am the one who appoints all the accounting officers in the different ministries. I am not an accounting officer for the Ministry of Finance, PSST Keith Muhakanizi tells Constitutional Court. pic.twitter.com/WZhtPqAJ9o - Judiciary Uganda (@JudiciaryUG) April 17, 2018

Muhakanizi made the revelation during cross-examination in the ongoing hearing into passage of the constitutional amendment number two which among others removed presidential age limits, extending the term of parliament and local governments from five to seven years and recommended an extension of that of the president which requires a referendum according to article 260 of the constitution.

Counsel for the petitioners Erias Lukwago asked Muhakinizi if he has budgeted for a referendum in the 2018/19 budget but he said he is not sure.

But Lukwago insists that the Electoral Commission has budgeted for about 260 million shillings for a referendum, the 29 million shillings advanced to each legislator to hold consultations and also financial implication of not holding elections in 2021.

Petitioner Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka asked Muhakinizi on which process was used to issue the certificate of financial implications on Mugoya's request.

Muhakanizi's responses were also interjected by Deputy chief justice Owiny-Dollo for clarity

You can still do a lot of good in a bad situation. The Police does not need to treat Ugandans with such brutality, Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo pic.twitter.com/13hhfyEJHy - Judiciary Uganda (@JudiciaryUG) April 17, 2018

Earlier, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze was the first to be cross-examined. State attorney Elisha Bafirawala asked Nambooze whether she exited the chamber after being named and suspended with 24 other MPs on September 27th.

He also asked whether her opposition to the amendment bill was a true reflection of her voters whom she says she did not consult because she was in hospital.

She told court she would have been more confident of her vote had she consulted.

Nambooze also informed court that her protest comments before taking a vote were deleted from the Hansard which is the official record of parliament.

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