The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said she wants freedom from the Attorney General to allow Parliament’s legal experts to represent the institution in the courts of law.
In what appears to be yet another clash between Parliament and the Executive, Kadaga addressed the media on Monday ahead of Parliament’s recess, and said Parliament has demanded for legal independence ever since they were taken to court during the Oil debate in 2011.
Kadaga recalls that during the Oil case, instead of taking Parliament’s instructions, Attorney General Peter Nyombi turned hostile, went to court and agreed with the complainant. The complainant, Severino Twinobusingye, was awarded 13 billion shillings in the case.
She adds that his move was not justice considering the Attorney General denied the Parliament legal team an opportunity to represent the institution.
Kadaga stated that the ongoing battle between Parliament and the executive is about the Independence of the Legislative arm of government.
Last month the National Resistance Movement Central Executive Committee (CEC) resolved to expel four of its Members of Parliament for what officials called indiscipline and opposing party positions. However, the NRM was disappointed early this month when Kadaga did not abide by the NRM ruling to order the Clerk to Parliament to declare the MPs’ seats vacant.
The legislators, Theodore Ssekikubo for Lwemiyaga, Bernabas Tinkasiimire for Buyaga West, Kampala Central MP Muhammed Nsereko and Wilfred Niwagaba, the Ndorwa East MP, thus retained their seats.
The AG recently wrote to the Speaker asking her to follow the directive by the NRM to declare the MPs’ seats vacant saying her ruling was unconstitutional. The expelled law makers then rebutted wondering whether Nyombi is the NRM attorney general or the government attorney general.
Kadaga says she will not waste time replying the letter and urged Nyombi to stay in court with the matter.
The NRM in response argued that the Speaker is the second National Vice Chairperson of the NRM, member of CEC and having attended and actively participated in the unanimous decision regarding the status of the four MPs, she would have let the matter to be presided over by her deputy Jacob Oulanyah.
But Kadaga says if the people of Uganda want the speaker and MPs to leave their party, then they should amend the constitution.
At a meeting in State House over the weekend, the NRM legal team was instructed to file a petition in the Constitutional Court to challenge Kadaga’s ruling regarding the expulsion of the four legislators commonly known as rebel MPs.
The NRM legal team presented the court papers to the President for his signature as the Chairman of the NRM Party and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi as Secretary General.
The team is headed by John Mary Mugisha, and includes Severino Twinobusingye, Chris Bakiza, Sam Mayanja, Matsiko Joseph and Michael Akampurira.