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Kwizera wants EC chairperson arrested for contempt of court

The Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Former Bufumbira East MP, Eddie Kwizera wants Electoral Commission Chairperson; Justice Simon Byabakama arrested and committed to Civil Prison for contempt of court.

This is part of his prayers in an application before the constitutional court. Alternatively, Kwizera wants court to order Electoral Commission to pay a fine of Shillings 3 billion for disregarding the orders and decisions arising from his Petition that was determined by the Constitutional court in 2019.

On December, 27th, 2019, a Panel of five Constitutional Court Judges led by Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo ordered six legislators from newly created municipalities to vacate their seats on grounds that they were elected to represent non-existent constituencies.

The affected include Apac Municipality Member of Parliament, Patrick Ocan, Sheema Municipality MP, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, Ibanda Municipality MP, Tarsis Rwaburindore Bishanga, Nebbi Municipality MP, Hashim Sulaiman, Kotido Municipality MP, Abrahams Lokii and their Bugiri Municipality counterpart, Asuman Basalirwa. The judgment stemmed from Kwizera’s petition in which he challenged the legality of the August 9th, 2016 Parliamentary resolution to create new municipalities after the 2016 General Elections.

In a lead judgment, Justice Christopher Madrama concurred with the applicant that the affected legislators contested for non-existent positions because their constituencies hadn’t yet been demarcated by Electoral Commission, which is vested with the powers to do so in as far as the law is concerned. Madrama argued that basing on court findings, there was no evidence that the Speaker of Parliament had declared any seat vacant as provided for in the law.

He noted that by holding otherwise, it would lead to a situation where the proportion of representation can be multiplied or decreased for particular political parties depending on where certain majorities are popular after general elections.  The Judges thus declared that it was clearly unconstitutional for Electoral Commission to conduct elections without any vacant seat in parliament and ordered them to pay half of the total costs of the suit to Kwizera.

Now, in a fresh application filed through his lawyers of Victoria Advocates and Legal Consultants, Kwizera alleges that on February 23rd 2020, EC well aware of the court decision went ahead and released a Road Map, in which, it listed 296 parliamentary constituencies including nonexistent six constituencies. He also says that the Commission has gone ahead to Publish in the National Gazette the list of Parliamentary constituencies for purposes of the 2020/2021 general elections and included the said constituencies, which are legally nonexistent.

He notes that the Constitutional Court ordered Government and Electoral Commission to file evidence of demarcation of 76 municipal constituencies, which hasn’t been done. He says the inclusion of the six constituencies on the Road Map implies that the Constitutional Court order doesn’t matter.  He now wants the Constitutional court to send Justice Byabakama to Civil prison for contempt of its orders.

Electoral Commission Lawyer; Eric Sabiiti told URN that they hadn’t received a copy of the petition. He however, said the Commission has a competent team the will respond to the petition appropriately once they served.

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URN

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