August 5, 2013

Court Rejects ‘Rebel’ MPs Appeal

The  Court of Appeal has declined  to grant permission to the 4 NRM MPs to appeal to the Supreme Court over their impending expulsion from parliament.

The MPs; Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Nuwagaba, Barnabas Tinkasiimire and Mohammed Nsereko were challenging the jurisdiction of 3 judges to hear and determine a Constitutional application by their party seeking to throw them out of parliament.

MPs
MPs Barnabas Tinkasimire, Theodore Sekikubo and Wilfred Niwaga. The three and Muhammed Nsereko were expelled from the ruling NRM

Three judges of the Court led by Acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma ruled that the MPs have no right in law to appeal against a temporary application.

The judges also refused to halt the hearing of the case arguing that there is no basis upon which they would do so. They instead ordered that in the interest of justice, NRM’s case be expeditiously heard and disposed of not later than August 12th.

In the petition, NRM challenges the decision of Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to retain the 4 MPs in Parliament after being expelled by their party which sponsored them to join House.

The party claims Kadaga’s decision creates a new breed of MPs which is not known in law and it’s for this reason that it wants court to set aside the Speaker’s decision and declare the 4 legislators’ seats vacant and order for fresh elections in their constituencies.

The sitting arrangement in the Ugandan parliament provides for the ruling party MPs, Opposition and Independents.

In April, the four MPs were expelled from NRM for what the ruling party disciplinary committee called indiscipline and opposing party positions. Consequently, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who is NRM secretary general, wrote to the Speaker asking her to have the so-called rebel MPs expelled from the House.

But in her May 2 ruling on the matter, Speaker Kadaga said that the 1995 Constitution does not provide for the expulsion of MPs, a decision for which NRM went to court.

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