Rebel MPs File Appeal

The four expelled NRM MPs on Friday lodged their appeal in the Supreme court, challenging a Constitutional court ruling that expelled them from Parliament.

The embattled MPs are Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West), Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East). After the ruling party expelled them for indiscipline, it demanded that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga should follow suit and expel them from Parliament.

But the speaker refused, saying there was no legal basis for that. This forced members of the ruling party to petition the Constitutional court to throw the ‘rebel’ MPs out, which it did recently.

But through three law firms, the appellant MPs insist that the majority justices of the Constitutional court misinterpreted Article 83(1)(G) of the Constitution. The Article states: “A member of parliament shall vacate his or her seat in parliament if that person leaves the political party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to parliament to join another party or to remain as an independent member.”

The Constitutional court, they say, interpreted the said article (83 (1) (G) to mean that the MPs left NRM upon being expelled. The appellants (MPs) insist that it was a wrong conclusion since they have never left NRM but rather they were just expelled.

In their memoranda of appeal, the MPs claim that the judges erred in law when they said that the Constitutional court had the jurisdiction to determine whether an MP’s seat was vacant or not.

The MPs’ legal team had argued at the Constitutional court that it was wrong for the NRM to take the case to the Constitutional court since it’s the High court which has the constitutional jurisdiction to decide whether an MP’s seat is vacant.

Accordingly, the four assert that the judges made a mistake when they looked into the merits of the case they filed in the High court challenging their expulsion from the ruling party.

“The learned justices looked into a case which was not before them hence using it to arrive at conclusions regarding the consolidated petitions … ..The wrong conclusions were to the effect that the appellants [MPs] voluntarily left NRM and their subsequent expulsion from the said NRM was a formality,” their appeal reads in part.

To support their appeal, the MPs attached a copy of Justice Remmy Kasule’s dissenting judgment. The date for the hearing is yet to be fixed.

Source : The Observer

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