Constitutional Interpretation

Male Mabirizi & ors v Attorney General (CONSTITUTIONAL APPEAL NO. 02 OF 2018) [2019] UGSC 6 (18 April 2019);


Search Summary: 

This was an appeal from the judgment of the
Justices of the Constitutional Court. The
background is that the appellants approached
the constitutional court challenging the
constitutional Amendment on the age limit as a
constitutional requirement for running for
president. The court of appeal considered
whether the process of the amendment was
done right and whether the presence of the
military in the parliament flawed the
constitution amendment process. The court
held that though the presence of the army in
the parliament was unlawful, it didn’t flaw the
process. The majority of the justices upheld the
constitutionality of the amendment process
hence this appeal.
The appeal to the supreme court considered
whether the basic structure doctrine was
applicable to the instant application and
whether it had been altered by the amendment
of the constitution.

Headnote and Holding: 

The court held that in
interpreting a Constitution, the history of the
country and the prevailing circumstances have
to be put into consideration. That in the history
of Uganda, there has nothing been like a
problem with a very aged president or a very
young president. That one should not be denied
a chance to participate because of age citing
the preamble and National Objective II that
promotes equality. That the Justices of the
Constitutional Court were correct to find that

the restriction on the age of the President or the
Chairperson Local Council V was not a basic
pillar of the Constitution of Uganda and was
therefore not part of the basic structure.
Further, the removal of the age limit didn’t in
any way negate people’s power to choose a
leader of their choice. The removal instead
enhances their participation.


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