Article 144 (a) of the Ugandan Constitution requires that, the Chief Justice should retire on attaining the age of 70 years.
However, Gerald Karuhanga, the Western Youth MP, on Wednesday revealed that there is an orchestrated plan to increase the age limit to enable Justice Benjamin Odoki retain his position as Chief Justice. The plan is being led by Kwizera Eddy, Bufumbira East MP, through a Bill in Parliament.
Mariam Nalubega, the Butambala Woman MP, expressed disappointment with Kwizera for trying to manipulate the law to allow for change of age limit yet many are uncomfortable with the precedent already set by President Yoweri Museveni.
Karuhanga claims that the culprits are trying to use the gap in article 144 (c) which states that subject to clause (7) of article 128 of the constitution, on attaining such other age as may be prescribed by Parliament by law.
However, a judicial officer may continue in office after attaining the age at which he or she is required by this clause to vacate office, for a period not exceeding three months necessary to enable him or her to complete any work pending before him or her.
Karuhanga notes that the Chief Justice led the commission that formed the 1995 constitution and it would be unfortunate that the very Chief Justice finds himself at a crossroads and manipulates it so it benefits him.
Chief Justice Odoki, who has served the judicial service for the last 12 years, officially retired on March 23rd even though the law provides that he can stay in office for another three months. This means he should have left office on the 23rd of June.
However, Kwizera defensively explains that all he had done is carry out a research which reveals that human resource planners in Uganda are not doing enough.
The Bufumbira East MP argues that article 144 states that Parliament shall prescribe and that is why he went out to do the research after which it can come as a Bill, but currently he is still testing at all levels. He maintains that there is no Bill.