'Rebel MPs' Case Pushed To Thursday

1900 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Supreme Court will on Thursday deliver the ruling on the application for an interim order filed by lawyers of the four legislators that were expelled from parliament.

The Supreme Court will on Thursday deliver the ruling on the application for an interim order filed by lawyers of the four legislators that were expelled from parliament.
 
The Constitutional Court on February 21 ruled that the four Members of Parliament that were expelled from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party vacate their seats in parliament and that a by-election be organised by the Electoral Commission in their respective constituencies.
 
Through their lawyers, the members who include Theodore Ssekikubo, Mohammad Nsereko, Wilfred Niwagaba and Bernabas Tinkasimire went to the Supreme Court seeking the stay of execution of the court orders until the court disposes of their substantive appeal challenging the judgment.
 
One of their lawyers Peter Walubiri said that his clients are exercising their right to appeal as provided for under Article 133 of the Constitution. He said that his clients want the court to restrain the electoral body from holding by-elections to replace them before the court hears their appeal against the judgment of the lower court. 
 
But their counterparts who represent the Attorney General and the NRM party opposed the application saying that execution has already taken place.
 
Denis Bereije, a Commissioner in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, showed evidence to court that Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has already implemented the orders of the Constitutional Court by restraining the applicants from participating in any parliamentary activities. He added that the Clerk to Parliament has also written to the Electoral Commission chairman notifying him of the vacant seats in parliament and the need for a by-election.
 
Bereije argued that granting that interim order will amount to upsetting the status quo which ought to be observed.
 
Another lawyer, John Mary Mugisha also said that the applicants’ application doesn’t satisfy the conditions precedent for granting an interim order and that the applicants haven’t shown that their appeal has any likelihood of success. Mugisha argued that the stay of execution will violate the constitution and perpetuate the lack of representation of the four constituencies of Lwemiyaga, Kampala Central, Buyaga West and Ndorwa East.
  
But the MPs’ lawyers counter argued that since a by-election hasn’t been carried out yet, the execution has not been fully implemented and that the Supreme Court can still intervene. One of the Justices of the bench Benjamin Odoki, a former Chief Justice, asked why the applicants are seeking an interim order instead of waiting for court to hear their main appeal.
 
Walubiri told Odoki that the court is has not expedited the process of disposing off the main suit and that in the meantime his clients and their representatives will be affected.
 
The five justices who included Benjamin Odoki, John Wilson Tsekoko, Esther Kisakye, Christine Kitumba and Galdino Okello said that they will deliver the ruling on whether or not to give the applicants the interim order.
 
The four embattled MPs were expelled from the NRM in April 2013 on grounds of indiscipline. The ruling party went ahead to write to the Speaker of Parliament to declare their seats vacant.
 
The two parties went to court to pronounce itself on whether or not an MP retains his seat after expulsion from the party and in a four to one ruling; the Constitutional Court said that expulsion from the party automatically leads to losing a parliamentary seat.