A section of diplomats accredited to Uganda have raised concern about the delayed ruling on consolidated petitions challenging the Constitution Amendment Act No.2 of 2017, which among others lifted age limits for presidential candidates.
In a meeting with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga at Parliament, the diplomats’ discussion centred on a variety of issues, commencing with the controversial ‘Age limit’ case.
“This is now more than two months since the Constitutional Court concluded the joint hearing of the five petitions challenging the amendment of the Constitution,” said Dr Albrecht Conze, the Germany Ambassador to Uganda.
The meeting between the Speaker and the diplomats was held today, Tuesday 26 June 2018.
Code 6.2 of the Uganda Code of Judicial Conduct envisions expeditious determination of cases.
“A Judicial Officer shall promptly dispose of the business of the court, but in so doing, must ensure that justice prevails…where a judgement is reserved, it should be delivered within 60 days, unless for good reason, it is not possible to do so,” reads part of the Code.
The Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo – led Constitutional Court is set to deliver the widely anticipated ruling in Mbale on notice.
Kadaga said the matter is beyond her jurisdiction.
“I don’t think it is proper for me to comment on something before another branch [of government], the proceeding is before the judiciary,” said Kadaga.
Local media reported on a letter said to be authored by lawyer James Byamukama, who represented one of the petitioners, addressed to Deputy Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo on the delayed judgment.
In a statement, however, the judiciary called for calm, asking the public to give Court space to exercise its powers.
The diplomats also expressed reservations about the voting method of lining up behind candidates during the upcoming Local Council and Women Council elections.
The French Ambassador to Uganda, Stephanie Rivoal, disclosed that the European Union offered to finance secret ballot polls for the Local Council leaders, but government was unenthusiastic about the offer.
“As EU, we offered to support a secret ballot, [but] we were never called upon to get the money together. It could have been possible for us to fund that but it is upon the local authorities to call upon us,” said Rivoal.
Earlier, US Ambassador Deborah Malac criticized lining up behind candidates as a method for conducting the perennially postponed election.
“…We of course do have concerns about the methodology used to conduct the elections,” saying it will endanger mainly women and children.
The meeting attracted Chief Diplomats from the United Kingdom, European Union, Norway and Japan among others.
Under similar frameworks, Kadaga spoke to the diplomats in December 2016, and discussed current affairs prevailing then.
The diplomats raised concerns about the delayed release of reports of the Kasese killings, which Speaker Kadaga said will be conducted in the second meeting of this session in October.
Kadaga said to improve Parliament efficiency, the session will be split into three constituent parts.
The first three months will address legislation, the second reports and the third will cater for the budget processes, which will lead up to prorogation.