Thursday August 21 2014

HAPPENING: Supreme Court dismisses Lukwago's petition

 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

Mood at the court
By 8:00 am on Thursday, the Supreme Court in Kampala was full to capacity with people most of whom are supporters of the embattled Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, and politicians who came to witness the court’s verdict that will determine whether he (Mr Lukwago) returns to his office at City Hall or continues to stay away.

Politicians arrive

Some politicians who came early to attend court whose verdict was expected to be read at 9:30 am include the Kawempe North MP Latif Sebaggala, the Butambala county MP Muwanga Muhammad Kivumbi and the Rubaga South MP John Ken Lukyamuzi, among others who came to show their support for the embattled mayor.

Lukwago Arrives

At around 9:20 am, Mr Lukwago arrived at the court premises in the company of the Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante and the JEEMA Political Party President Asuman Basalirwa.

Police Deployment

Reports coming in also indicate that there is police deployment at the Court premises and on the roads that lead to the Kololo based court. Entry into court premises permitted only at show of proper identification

Ruling Starts

Supreme Court registrar now reading the ruling, starts with whether the appeal was filed rightly.

On whether Lukwago's appeal was filed properly and rightly, court has decided that it was filed in time and is acceptable

"Court accepts too, that the appeal was filed within the 60 days given by the law and still holds. We thus find no merit in the application for dismissal of the appeal and thus that application is dismissed" - Registrar

"We shall now deliver our ruling on whether to grant an injunction to Lord Mayor allowing him perform his duties" - Registrar adds.

Ruling on Injunction

A beaming smile on Lukwago's face when the registrar reads out that he was elected with 64.4% of votes cast in the election

Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko enters court drawing a little bit of attention off the registrar.

"We are of the opinion that the notice of motion on the illegality of Kavuma sitting alone to hear the appeal is competent. Kavuma does not need explanation on who has what powers on hearing injunction appeals at the court of appeal"- Registrar

"With all due respect, we overrule all manner of orders that were issued by him"

Court now moves to whether the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear appeals from a single judge at the court of appeal

Our opinion is that the supreme court cannot hear this matter, the right bench is the court of appeal with three justices- court

We make the following orders; The application for stay of execution is not tenable. The application should be taken before the court of appeal

"Maintain the status quo, no costs to either party, go back to the court of appeal before three judges" - Supreme Court

We look at other issues that have been surrounding the Lukwago saga

Makerere University LC 5 councillor Bernard

Makerere University LC 5 councillor Bernard Luyiga intends to demonstrate with 500 more people on Tuesday. Courtesy Photo

Makerere University KCCA councillor Bernard Luyiga wrote to the Inspector General of Police Gen. Kale Kayihura, notifying him of his intended massive demonstration on Tuesday next week over what he called delayed delivery of a Supreme Court ruling involving the embattled Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

According to Mr Luyiga’s letter dated July, 29, he said he intended to lead about 500 people from Makerere University in a peaceful demonstration to Parliament and deliver his petition to the Leader of Opposition (LOP) Wafula Oguttu to intervene in the delayed Lukwago ruling.

Usual Mayoral contender Peter Ssematimba returned as the NRM flag bearer for the Mayoral by-elections in March. Ssematimba garnered 108,984 votes to reclaim the party ticket.

Ssematimba beat rivals Fred Kazibwe, 2011 Kawempe south contestant Hajji Najja Twaha and Muhamad Kasule in what Kazibwe claimed was mired by malpractices and ballot stuffing from Ssematimba's camp.

The NRM primary results came at a time when Lukwago had been ordered out of office. Lukwago was ordered out of office by the Court of Appeal in a ruling delivered behind "closed" doors by Justice Steven Kavuma.

EC ordered not to hold nominations for mayor

Mr Lukwago wanted court to cancel the campaigns for Lord Mayor and the resultant by-election, until his main petition was heard and disposed of

During the hearing of Mr Lukwago’s application to halt the by-elections, lawyers for both sides made lengthy submissions that closed at 8:30pm, outside the normal court time of 5pm.

Counsel for the Attorney General Martin Mwambutsya held that the said court order presented to KCCA council in November to stop the impeachment proceedings was fake

Details

The Supreme Court is today expected to pass its verdict that will determine whether embattled Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago returns to his office at City Hall.

According to the ruling notice dated August 19, that the Supreme Court issued to the concerned parties calling for their court appearance today, the much awaited ruling is to be delivered at 9:30am.
Deputy Registrar of the court Mr Thaddeus Opesen is expected to read out the ruling on behalf of the five justices Dr Esther Kisaakye Mayambala who led the panel, Benjamin Odoki, Gildino Okello, John Wilson Tsekooko and Christine Kitumba who heard this appeal on April 24, and reserved it for ruling on notice.

Should court agree with Mr Lukwago that Justice Steven Kavuma of the Court of Appeal over stepped his powers when he sat as a single judge instead of a panel of three and kicked him out of office, then he will temporarily return to City Hall and resume his mayoral duties as he awaits for the determination of the substantive matter now pending before the High Court.

On the contrary, should the Supreme Court agree with KCCA and the Attorney General that justice Kavuma as a single judge had the powers to kick Mr Lukwago out of office, then he will continue being locked out until the determination of his substantive case.

This appeal arose on April 1 when Mr Lukwago ran to the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the earlier orders of Justice Kavuma of March 31, for having among others; kicked him out of City Hall, hardly three hours after resuming office.
Justice Kavuma kicked Mr Lukwago out of office following a successful appeal by the Attorney General and KCCA.

KCCA and the AG claimed that they were aggrieved with the earlier orders of High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe who had ruled that Lukwago’s impeachment by 29 KCCA councillors on November 25 last year was illegal on grounds that there was an existing court order stopping the same impeachment.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

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