August 19, 2013

Constitutional Court Defies Supreme Court On ‘Rebel’ MPs

The Constitutional Court on Monday continued with the case against the Members of Parliament expelled from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) despite communication from the Supreme Court to stay the case.

The MPs who include; Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Niwagaba, Muhammad Nsereko and Barnabas Tinkasimiire had appealed to the Supreme Court over hearing of the NRM petition by the Constitutional Court.

Three Expelled MPs' Barnabas Tinkasimiire, Throedore Sekikubo and Nuwgaba.
Three Expelled MPs’ Barnabas Tinkasimiire, Throedore Sekikubo and Nuwgaba.

The Supreme Court set September 9 as the date for the hearing of the case and court registrar wrote a letter to the Constitutional Court to stay the case until the case at the Supreme Court is resolved.

The Constitutional Court led by Acting Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma has however ignored the communication saying that a simple communication is not enough to stay the case.

Kavuma said that for them to halt the case, the Supreme Court has to issue a court order.

Article 137 (2) of the Constitution stipulates that when sitting as a constitution, the Constitutional Court shall consist of the bench of five members of that court.

Legal experts have said that the Constitutional Court is politicizing the matter and ignoring the legal aspect of it.

Director for Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment and lawyer Godber Tumushabe told local media that the Constitutional Court is being stubborn and paying more attention to the politics of the case.

He said that the communication from the Supreme Court would automatically halt the case if the Constitutional Court judges were following proper legal procedure.

Godber added that the on-going trial is not against the three MPs but against Uganda’s judiciary.

But Secretary General of the Uganda Law Society Nicholas Opio says that the Constitutional Court can ignore the communication since it’s not an order.

He says d that what the Supreme Court should have issued is an order and said that the MPs have to secure that order if the case is to be stayed.

Kinkizi East MP Chris Baryomunsi believes that the Constitutional Court is rushing to end the case before the one in the Supreme Court is heard.

The MPs are battling a case against the ruling of the speaker over their removal from parliament after their expulsion from the NRM party.

The Constitutional Court hearing the case consisted of three judges who include Steven Kavuma, Augustine Nshimye and Remmy Kasule.

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