Ugandan judge who opposed removal of presidential term limits dies in Nairobi
Ugandan judge, Justice Kenneth Kakuru of the Court of Appeal, has died at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi after succumbing to prostate cancer aged 65.
In the death announcement, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo shared that Kakuru died on Tuesday morning.
“Justice Kakuru has been a valued member of the Bench since his appointment on July 4, 2013, and will be greatly missed. Through his actions and judgments, he was a human rights defender par excellence. As Judiciary, we shall surely miss him,” he said.
According to the Monitor, Kakuru had in last year applied to retire due to a health condition he was dealing with. “Yes it is true, I have applied for early retirement because of health. I have been told that the management and treatment of this condition will go on for the rest of my life,” he said.
Kakuru has been known as a no-nonsense judge owing to his judgments and other court decisions. For instance, he gave a dissenting judgment nullifying the removal of age limits from the Constitution.
He was the only one of five judges to rule that the amendment of the Constitution in 2017 to remove lower and upper age limits for presidential and local government candidates was done illegally.
He based his ruling on a number of factors, but especially on what he called a lack of consultation with the public during the process of the amendment.
“I declare that the entire constitutional amendment Act 1 of 2018 is unconstitutional and therefore null and void. All its provisions ought to be expunged from the Constitution,” he said in his verdict.
This allowed the country’s President Yoweri Museveni to continue ruling for yet another term. Initially, the age limit for a president was at 75 years. By the time of the ruling, President Museveni was 73 years old and would have been barred from seeking re-election.
Further, Kakuru’s ruling has seen President Museveni be the longest-serving East African Head of State.
The family has yet to release burial arrangements.
He is the latest high-ranking Ugandan to move to Nairobi for specialized treatment.
Others are Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, East African community minister Rebecca Kadaga and former Central Bank governor Emmanuel Mutebile.