Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana has fixed August 1st 2022 to deliver his decision in the case where 23 members of the National Resistance Movement want the court to declare the decision by their party to exclude them from the East African Legislative Assembly-EALA elections as irrational.
Ssekaana on Monday fixed the date after the lawyers representing NRM led by Usama Sebuufu and Anthony Mbaziira and those representing the aspirants led by Robert Rutaro Muhairwe appeared before him and each side made submissions as to why the case should be decided in their favor.
Rutaro told court that the NRM Central Executive Committee which is the top organ of the party, on July 8th 2022 ring-fenced six out of the nine positions that Uganda had in the EALA and endorsed only the incumbents.
The incumbents are: Mary Mugyenyi, Rose Akol, Stephen George Odongo, Denis Namara, James Kakooza, and Paul Musamali Mwasa.
He noted that his 23 clients had expressed interest in participating in the elections, invested resources in both cash and time and traversed almost all parts of the country seeking support from the legislators, only to be locked out by the CEC decision.
The applicants are: Dr Isaac Lwanga, Byangire Nuwabiine Jossy, Maganda Julius, Nuwagaba Herbert, Samuel Mugenyi, Kyasiimire Sheilah, Amanya German, Kyaguna Robert, Abigaba Adonia, Mivule Ronald, and Nampwera Ambrose.
The others are Kizito Richard, Ategeka Moses, Webale Robert, Kawooya Kigongo Samuel, Isa Kato, Ruth Karungi, Agaba Gilbert, Rwebisengye L.B, Asimwe Micheal, Dr. Kisembo Emmanuel, Ivan Mutsika and Bwengye Lauben.
According to Rutaro, his clients were disenfranchised, made losses and besides they were denied an opportunity to participate in the elections which is contrary to the party constitution. Rutaro thus asked court to quash the decision by CEC on grounds of irrationality unreasonableness and procedural impropriety and allow his clients to participate in the forthcoming elections.
On their part, the lawyers representing NRM and it’s Electoral Commission Sebuufu and Mbaziira have asked court to dismiss the case with costs being awarded to the respondents on grounds that they did not use internal mechanisms provided within the party constitution to solve disputes.
Mbaziira argued that the party constitution indicates that one aggrieved by decisions by the party can always use its tribunal to seek redress before running to court but the aspirants didn’t do this. He further indicated that this position was confirmed by the Constitutional Court in the case that was filed by one of their party members Fox Odoi against the party some time back.
The Court has also heard that the NRM Electoral Commission under the law is not a party that can sue or be able to be sued and as such, it was sued wrongly in the case before the Civil Division.
The evidence submitted to the Court on behalf of the respondents through the affidavits of the NRM Legal Director Oscar Kihiika and Tanga Odoi also show that when NRM called for interested parties to express interest in EALA elections, 130 people showed interest, 63 withdrew and the remaining 67 who included the applicants were all assessed and six of them endorsed as party candidates to be nominated and elected for the position of members of EALA.
Now Justice Ssekaana has promised to deliver his judgement on email next week.