The High Court in Kampala today by press time, had given Attorney General Peter Nyombi three hours to respond to the application filed by embattled Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago in which he is seeking to block the April 17 mayoral by-elections.
Justice Lydia Mugambe was prompted to give the three hours ultimatum of up to 2:30 pm after it emerged that the AG had not responded to Mr Lukwago’s application. The AG’s co-respondents – KCCA, the Electoral Commission (EC) and its boss Badru Kiggundu, who is also sued in his individual capacity, had put in theirs.
The tough talking judge also observed that the subject matter was of urgency since the EC was in advanced stages of holding the mayoral by-elections, with the nominations of candidates slated for March 31 and April 1, and that time was of essence.
Prior to the judge’s surprise orders, AG’s representative in court, Mr Martin Mwambutysa, had pleaded for more time (one week) to enable them file their response.
Mr Mwambutysa argued that the AG should not be condemned unheard, a scenario he said is against the rules of natural justice.
Mr Abdu Katuntu, who represented Mr Lukwago in court, did not object to the adjournment requested by the AG, but insisted that it should be for a very short time, like up to Monday next week.
Mr Katuntu argued that it would be very difficult to reverse the process by the EC if a longer adjournment was given to the AG to respond to Mr Lukwago.
Alternatively, Mr Katuntu asked for interim reliefs, to stop the EC from organising the by-elections as the AG puts in their defence.
Mr Lukwago ’s move to seek court’s intervention follows the recent roadmap released by the EC of how it had set April 17 as a date it would hold by-elections to fill the vacant position of the Kampala City Lord Mayor.
The EC late last year received notification from KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi that the Lord Mayor position was vacant following the November 25, 2013 vote in which 29 councilors against three voted to remove Mr Lukwago from office.
In the application he filed about two weeks ago, Mr Lukwago wants court to temporarily block the EC from organizing the mayoral by-elections until his main application in which he is challenging the KCCA Tribunal report that found him guilty of abuse of office, incompetence and misconduct is determined.
Mr Lukwago says that unless the EC is restrained from organising the by-election to replace him, he is likely to suffer irreparable injury, as he will be illegally and permanently removed from office before the determination of his main application.