Minister Elioda Tumwesigye, MP Basalirwa thrown out of parliament by Constitutional Court for being elected in constituencies where there “was no vacancy existing”
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Constitutional court has ordered six Members of Parliament (MPs), including Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Elioda Tumwesigye, out of Uganda’s Parliament for contesting and getting elected in constituencies where there “was no vacancy existing”.
The affected MPs are from the newly created municipalities of Bugiri, Apac, Nebbi, Kotido, Ibanda and Sheema. Notably among these is Asuman Basalirwa of Bugiri municipality.
Others are Patrick Ochan, Tarsis Rwaburindore, Hashim Sulaiman and Abraham Lokii.
Petition against the Electoral Commission
In Constitutional Petition Number 20 of 2018 , the petitioner, former Bufumbira East MP Eddie Kwizera through his lawyer Wandera Ogalo filed a petition under the provisions of Article 137 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda for a declaration that the creation of the municipalities of Apac, Sheema, Ibanda, Nebbi, Bugiri and Kotido as constituencies is null and void.
He argued in his petition against the Attorney General and the Electoral Commission, that the holding of elections in those constituencies contravened article 63 (6) of 20 the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The appeal was before Justices Owiny Dollo, Kenneth Kakuru, Egonda Ntende, Barishaki and Christopher Madrama Izama, who read the ruling.
“In the circumstances of this petition, the elections that were conducted in the six municipalities are not elections envisaged in the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005. First of all as we have held above, there was no vacancy existing or created in Parliament by the mere fact of creation of municipalities,” Justice Madrama concluded.
Court agrees with lawyer Wandera Ogalo
Kwezira’s lawyer Wandera Ogalo had submitted that on 9th August, 2016 Parliament of Uganda passed a resolution prescribing the number of constituencies in the country to be 296. Six out of the 296 were to come into effect after 9th August, 2016.
He argued that the rest were simply recognised as having come into existence in or about 2006, 2011 and 2016.
In respect of the six, the second respondent (Electoral Commission) went ahead and organised, supervised and conducted elections in July, 2010. The Electoral Commission had earlier on held elections in the others without Parliament having prescribed the numbers of constituencies Uganda should have first.
Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, says that he isn’t bothered by the Constitutional Court judgment nullifying his election since his focus is on the 2021 general elections.
He told URN that the judgment was directed at the Electoral Commission (EC) and Attorney General and not the legislators as individuals.
“So, the lawyers can argue out if they want to appeal. But those are challenges that are on this planet. People face challenges, if you don’t want challenges or don’t face any difficulties you go to fool’s paradise but if you are on this planet, you get challenges but fire on. Me I don’t have time for negative energy, I have time for positive energy so, the responsible people will sort it out,” he argued.
The Minister said that he is currently in his constituency focusing on the next election.