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Supreme Court Panel set for case against dismissal of six MPs

 

Justice Stella Arach Amoko

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Supreme Court has constituted a panel of seven Justices to hear a consolidated application seeking to stay the execution of the Constitutional Court decision, which nullified the election of legislators for six newly created municipalities.

A notice issued by the Acting Assistant Supreme Court Registrar, Esther Nansambu shows that the panel comprises of Justices Dr. Esther Kisaakye, Stella Arach Amoko, Opio Aweri, Lillian Tibatemwa, Richard Buteera, Paul Mugamba and Mike Chibita.

The notice shows that the applications filed by the Attorney General and Electoral Commission will be heard on February 6th, 2020 in the morning hours.

On December, 27th, 2019, a Panel of five Constitutional Court Judges ordered six legislators from the newly created Sheema, Bugiri, Nebbi, Kotido, Ibanda and Apac municipalities to vacate parliament on grounds that they were elected for nonexistent constituencies.

The affected are 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 a petition by the former Bufumbira East MP, Eddie Kwizera challenging the legality of the August 9th, 2016 Parliamentary resolution to create new municipalities after General Elections.

In their judgment, the judges noted the affected legislators stood for non-existent positions because the administrative units in their constituencies hadn’t been demarcated by Electoral Commission, which is vested with the powers to do so in as far as the law is concerned.

Justice Christopher Izama Madrama who led the panel argued that basing on court findings, there was no evidence that the Speaker of Parliament had declared any seat vacant, which would form the basis for elections. The Judges noted that it was unconstitutional for the Electoral Commission to conduct elections without any vacant seat in parliament and ordered them to pay half of the costs of the suit to the petitioner.

However, on January 10th, 2020 Electoral Commission and the Attorney General filed applications in the Supreme Court seeking to stay the execution of the orders pending determination of their appeals. In its application, Electoral Commission says it will argue its case based on the affidavit of one of their lawyer Hamidu Lugoolobi, who says that the Constitutional Court exercised the jurisdiction vested in it with material irregularity or injustice.

The Commission and Government also contend that the results of the lower court infringed on other elections envisaged under the constitution because of its directive that no seats should be created after the conclusion of General elections.

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