Early this week, Uganda’s leading private newspaper The Daily Monitor run an article of the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo regretting the removal of presidential term limits from the Constitution.
Justice Owiny-Dollo said the Constitution in Article 102 (b), provided that the presidential age limit could be amended and removed without a referendum.
“I don’t think this thing of age limit was a big issue; but what I wept for this country was for the removal of the presidential term limits. That is where we lost it. The mistake we made in the Constituent Assembly was not to entrench, not to make it difficult for anyone to amend the provisions of the term limits,” Justice Owiny-Dollo said adding that the 1994 Constituency Assembly, which he was part of, did not entrench the safeguards to stop such amendments.
This website took a step to interact with one of the Judges who was part of the team that handled the matter.
The learned fellow who begged to remain anonymous said that the issue of Togikwatako was the hardest matter he had ever handled in his career and the Judiciary.
“The appetite government had to have the constitution amended narrowly made us to put on gun point when we attempted to turn down the ruling.” Our source told this website adding that they had to do as directed because they still love life.
Besides threats coming from different corners of the country, the learned fellow also says that a number of phone calls came from those with authority warning them not to be tempted to go against the motion.
It should be noted that Owinyi-Dollo is on record saying that its hard to believe that the controversial matter passed through his hands.
“That one, I take responsibility and anybody else who was in the Constituent Assembly; that we should have secured, entrenched that provision so that if you want to amend that particular article, you would go back to the people. We failed the people of Uganda as a consequence,” he said.
Parliament amended the Constitution in 2005 to remove the presidential term limits when President Museveni was in his second and final five-year elective term.
In 2017, Parliament again amended the Constitution to remove the 75 year age limit for the president when Mr Museveni was due to turn 75 years old.
A group of MPs and civil society members petitioned the Constitutional Court chaired by Justice Owiny-Dollo, then deputy Chief Justice. But on a majority verdict, the court upheld the amendment of the age limit for the president.
The petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court, but the verdict was the same.
At the time, some senior NRM members and Cabinet ministers opposed the move to remove