Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament and Chief Justice have disagreed publicly about recent summons during parliament’s debate of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2017, referred to by many, as the Age Limit Bill.
“I have a problem with being directed how to carry out the responsibilites of a speaker… A situatiion where a court directs a speaker in session to close parliament and come to attend court, I find that incredible,” said Rebecca Kadaga, at the opening of the New Law Year at the Kampala High Court.
Kadaga stressed that there is a need for arms of the state to give each other space. “I cannot imagine a committee of my house, which has the powers of the Hight Court, direct any single judge to stop work and come to attend a committee of parliament,” Kadaga added.
During the Constitution Amendment 2017 debate, MPs who had been suspended from the house, got a court order asking The Speaker to go court to explain her actions.
Lawyers of the suspended six MPs, led by shadow attorney general Wilfred Nuwagaba, attempted to enter parliament to give notice to the Speaker and Attorney General to appear before the High Court.
The six MPs were protesting the legality of the decision by the Speaker to suspend them from the constitution ammendment bill. The suspended MPs were Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Allan Ssewanyana, Gerald Karuhanga, Jonathan Odur, Anthony Akol and Mubarak Manyangwa.
They lawyers were blocked at the gates of Parliament, with MPs Medard Ssegona and Nuwagaba who had the papers to serve the Speaker, detained by police.
Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana said one can’t serve court orders in the precinct of parliament. The debate continued and the constitution amendment sailed through, with MPs lifting the age limit for the presidency among the changes.
Chief Justice Katureebe responded to Kadaga’s remarks, saying no one is above the law and the judiciary has not interest in interfering with the work of parliament.
“If a citizen of this country chooses to move under article 137 of the constitutition and comes before the constitution court or any other court, then the judiciary has a duty to judiciously consider the allegations and make appropriate orders,” Katureebe said.
He added that, “and we certainly expect, as a requirement of the rule law, that even if one disagrees with the orders of the court, one has to move to the next ladder and have those orders reveresed.”
Also in attendance was Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, all judges of High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.