The Court of Appeal has thrown Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago out of office, three hours after resuming work at KCCA.
Mr Lukwago has been out of office since November after councillors voted to impeach him.
A protracted legal battle had offered Mr Lukwago a lifeline after High Court judge Lydia Mugambe on Friday ruled that Mr Lukwago’s continued ouster from office was illegal since he had lodged a complaint before court challenging the tribunal report that formed the basis of his impeachment.
Going by the ruling, Mr Lukwago had yesterday returned to his office. However, his return was short-lived after Justice Steven Kavuma of the Court of Appeal ordered him to vacate the same office.
The order, which was issued in camera in Justice Kavuma’s office, was only witnessed by KCCA lawyers and the Attorney General’s representatives. Mr Lukwago’s team was absent at the proceedings where police barred journalists from accessing the heavily guarded premises.
Justice Kavuma’s order in effect overturns Ms Mugambe’s ruling and will technically keep Mr Lukwago out of office until the Attorney General’s challenge of the order reinstating the Lord Mayor is disposed of.
“An interim order doth issue staying the execution and implementation of the ruling and orders of the High Court in miscellaneous application No.94 of 2014 by Hon Lydia Mugambe pending the determination of the main application,” reads Justice Kavuma’s order in part.
The order also stayed other related cases, including the one before Justice Yasin Nyanzi, who issued the first order restraining KCCA from impeaching the Lord Mayor.
The ruling [Justice Kavuma] also means the Electoral Commission could now proceed to organise a by-election for the Lord Mayor’s position. EC had earlier indicated it would hold the by-elections on April 17. Asked about the matter, Mr Jotham Taremwa, the EC spokesperson, said they would first seek legal guidance.
However, Mr Abdu Katuntu, Mr Lukwago’s lead counsel told the Daily Monitor that they would today appeal Justice Kavuma’s ruling in the Supreme Court, saying: “The ruling is a complete abuse of court processes and a defeat of justice.”
Kampala minister, Tumwebaze, however, celebrated the order, asking Mr Lukwago’s team to respect the ruling.
“I welcome the ruling and the order of the Court of Appeal staying implementation of the earlier order,” he said in a statement.