EALA sits to decide Speaker Zziwa’s fate today

KAMPALA

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is expected to hold an extraordinary session today to consider a report of the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges on the findings into complaints of misconduct and abuse of office against the assembly speaker, Margaret Nantongo Zziwa.
If the committee finds merit in the accusations levelled against Ms Zziwa, she is likely be censured in a session which will be chaired by interim Speaker, Mr Chris Opoka-Okumu.
The Committee chaired by Mr Frederic Ngenzebuhoro was given 21 days within which to conclude the investigations and to report back to the Assembly.
The First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) on Tuesday quashed Ms Zziwa’s application in which she had sought to block today’s proceedings.
Ms Zziwa through her lawyers, had among other things sought an order prohibiting and restraining EALA from convening today for purposes of considering Legal, Rules and Privileges committee, pending the hearing and determination of the main case she filed in the regional Court.
The Court found that Ms Zziwa had failed to prove the irreparable injustice today’s sitting may occasion to her, as had been claimed in her application.
“The Court declared it was unable to accept the Applicant’s case that she is entitled to any ex-parte orders. The Court thus ordered the Application be fixed for hearing inter parte on 3rd February 2015. The Application was dismissed with no order as to cost,” read a statement by Ms. Geraldine Umugwaneza Deputy Registrar.

Ms Zziwa has been fighting to block the November 17 suspension by a majority of members of the assembly over her alleged misconduct. She termed the suspension as illegal.
Zziwa’s lawyer, John Tumwebaze of Kampala Associated Aocates (“KAA”) in an interview with Daily Monitor termed the court’s decision as ‘unfortunate’ but said they will respect it.
“This was an interim matter, the main suit has been fixed for February 3, 2015 but we intend to challenge the illegalities in court,” he said.
Likely scenarios
If the committee merits the complaints against Ms Zziwa and her removal process is endorsed by at least two-thirds of the elected Members, the House will proceed to elect a new Speaker.
However if, it is established that the complaints don’t merit or are false and therefore the Speaker has no case to answer or where the two- thirds majority is not garnered, the motion will not succeed and will be deemed lost.
Consequently, Ms Zziwa, under such circumstances will resume her duties.
Ms Zziwa will also have an opportunity to appeal through the relevant courts of law if in her opinion, there ishas been or appears to be a miscarriage of justice.
In case Ms Zziwa is impeached today, “we shall challenge it in court,” Mr Tumwebaze said.

sdkafeero@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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