The Supreme Court has temporarily halted implementation of an order which directed six MPs to vacate the House on grounds that they were elected in constituencies that were non-existent in law.
On December 27 last year, the Constitutional Court ordered the MPs, including Mr Patrick Ochan (Apac) Mr Asuman Basaliirwa(Bugiri) and Dr Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema) to vacate Parliament.
Following the ruling, the Attorney General (AG) and the Electoral Commission (EC) filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking to stay the implementation of the Constitutional Court decision until the main appeal challenging the judgment had been disposed of.
“We find that the intended appeal involves matters of significant public importance and raises constitutional and legal matters which warrant determination by this court. It is the duty of this court to ensure that the intended appeals if successful are not rendered nugatory,” reads the 6-1 judgment read by Justice Mike Chibita.
“The decision, decree and orders of the Constitutional Court delivered on December 27, 2019 are hereby stayed pending the determination of the applicants’ intended appeals or until further orders of this court,” the justices held.
It also directed the registrar of the Constitutional Court to expeditiously produce the record of proceedings to enable the AG and the EC to file their appeals.
Justice Esther Kisaakye who led the panel at hearing of the application, disagreed with her colleagues reasoning that the intended appellants did not prove exceptional circumstances to secure the stay.
During the hearing of the application, the Principal State Attorney in the AG’s chambers, Mr George Karemeera, asked the judges to stay the implementation of the Constitutional Court orders, saying their appeal would be rendered futile.
Mr Karemeera asked the court to consider the fact that they followed the requirements of the law to file a notice of appeal, requested for record of proceedings, adding that their intended appeal has a good chance of success because it raises both constitutional and human rights issues which ought to be determined by the court.
In December last year, the judges of the Constitutional Court ruled that the elections in six cited municipalities were not elections for an office of MP existing under the Constitution because they were not General elections or by-elections.
The court ruled that six of the parliamentary seats contested for were not vacant and were already represented.