Expelled MPs to stay in Parliament - court
Posted Friday, October 11 2013 at 01:00
Kampala- The Supreme Court has halted any move to evict four MPs who were expelled by NRM from participating in Parliament activities, until the same court pronounces itself on their appeal.
In a 6:1 majority ruling written by Justice Galdino Okello, the judges stayed the implementation of the September 6 order by the Constitutional Court barring the MPs from accessing and or participating in parliamentary activities until the Constitutional Court makes the final judgment.
“We are satisfied that the applicants’ intended appeal is against various decisions made by the Constitutional Court in the course of the proceedings in the consolidated petitions. The decisions involved interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution. The applicants may appeal against those decisions as of right,” Justice Okello held.
However, the court also ruled that hearing of the main application in the Constitutional Court would continue. The Constitutional Court is set to deliver its main judgment on whether or not the MPs must leave Parliament on October 15.
Justices Bart Katureebe, Jotham Tumwesigye, John Tsekooko, Christine Kitumba and Benjamin Odoki agreed with the Justice Okello.
However, Dr Esther Kisaakye dissented and delivered a minority ruling.
The ruling of the Supreme Court yesterday overturns a mandatory injunction of the Constitutional Court barring the MPs from accessing and attending Parliament. It also halts any order against the MPs until their appeal is heard and determined.
On September 6, the Constitutional Court justices ordered the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to temporarily restrain the four MPs from Parliament until a main petition challenging her ruling is determined.
Justice Remmy Kasule, one of the justices on the panel disagreed with his colleagues in a minority ruling, arguing that the majority decision to suspend the MPs is pre-judicial, pre-judgemental and contrary to the duty imposed upon the court.
The earlier appeal
Through their lawyers MPs; Theodore Sekikubo, Wilfred Niwagaba, Mohammed Nsereko and Barnabas Tinkasiimire appealed against the Constitutional Court decision over admissibility of the affidavits evidence of President Museveni and the question of a Coram of three Justices of the Court of Appeal sitting as a Constitutional Court to deal with Constitutional applications.
However, the justices unanimously held: “We grant no order for stay of proceedings in the consolidated petitions before the Constitutional Court as we are not satisfied that it is desirable.”
They also declined to award costs to any party saying the matter is of ‘great public importance’.
According to Justice Okello, where a party is exercising its unrestricted right of appeal, it is the duty of the court to make such orders as will prevent the appeal if successful being nugatory.
“In the instant case, the applicants are clearly exercising their unrestricted right of appeal and the appeal meets the conditions precedent; it is thus the duty of this court to ensure that their appeal, if successful, is not rendered nugatory,” held Justice Okello in the 6-1 majority ruling.
But Justice Kisaakye disagreed with the majority ruling saying the Constitutional Court should be left to discharge its duties since aggrieved parties have a right to appeal to the Supreme Court.
WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS SAY ABOUT THE RULING
Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Buyaga County MP: “We made it clear that we shall obey a court order and not a political order of the Constitutional Court, and not only to disobey it but also to appeal against it.”
Wilfred Niwagaba, Ndorwa East: “The ruling shows the supremacy of the Supreme Court over all subordinate courts. This means parties are guaranteed that their issues can be settled in accordance with the law, not on basis of individuals.” interest.”