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Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri, Jeema party) and Dr Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema, NRM party)

Minister Tumwesigye, Basalirwa Among Six MPs Kicked Out of Parliament

The unanimous judgment by five Constitutional Court justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo stems from an application filed by the former Bufumbira East MP, Eddie Kwizera challenging the legality of a number of constituencies created after the 2016 general elections
posted onDecember 27, 2019
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The Constitutional Court has ruled that parliamentary elections in six municipalities were illegally conducted leaving six Members of Parliament (MPs) facing ejection from the House.

They include Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri), Dr Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema), Hashim Sulaiman (Nebbi), Tarsis Rwaburindore Bishanga (Ibanda), Ocan Patrick (Apac) and Peter Lokii Abrahams (Kotido).

The unanimous judgment by five Constitutional Court justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo stems from an application filed by the former Bufumbira East MP, Eddie Kwizera challenging the legality of a number of constituencies created after the 2016 general elections.

Kwizera argued that the six constituencies were illegally created by parliament and asked the court to declare them null and void. 

He also asked the court to have them expunged from government records, nullify the election of the MPs and direct them to refund taxpayers’ money. 

In his application, Kwezira argued that the resolutions of parliament creating the contested constituencies violated Articles 61(c) 63(2) and 91(1) of the Constitution. Articles 61 and 63 prescribe how Constituencies are to be created while Article 91(1) mandates parliament to make laws through bills passed and assented to by the President.

Kwizera said that parliament could only create constituencies through an Act of Parliament and a mere resolution. Now, in their judgment delivered on Friday, December 27, 2019, the constitutional court justices, noted that the elections conducted in the new municipalities were premature, null and void because there were no vacant positions.

“In the premises, I would hold that the elections conducted in the sixth affected municipalities mentioned in this judgment are not elections for an office of Member of Parliament existing under the Constitution because they are not general elections or by-elections. Secondly, the seats contested for did not have a vacancy and were already represented by the elected MPs in the general elections of 2016,” said Justice Christopher Madrama.

He noted that the parliamentary elections conducted in Apac, Sheema, Ibanda, Nebbi, Bugiri and Kotido municipalities for non – existent vacancies or seats cannot stand. Madrama said that Article 61 (1) (b) of the Constitution places a duty on the Electoral Commission to conduct elections in accordance with the Constitution and that it was its duty to ensure that each county is represented in Parliament as stipulated by the Constitution only where there is a vacancy.

“Vacancies would occur in the municipalities of Apac, Sheema, Ibanda, Nebbi, Bugiri and Kotido with the necessary demarcation by the second respondent and would be available for contest in the next general elections upon dissolution of the sitting,” he added. The Judges ordered that no seats should be created by creating more constituencies after the general elections have been held, except in accordance with the Constitution.

Justice Madrama says that the Constitution envisages that any vacancies created by division or creation of more constituencies or alteration of boundaries of constituencies shall take effect in the next general elections. He ordered that Electoral Commission within one year files in court evidence of the prescription of Parliament dividing Uganda into the number of constituencies pursuant to the mandate exercised by Parliament under Article 294 and 63 (1) of the Constitution for the next general elections.

The court further directed the Commission to file evidence in court indicating that it has demarcated the boundaries of constituencies in accordance with the prescription of Parliament under Article 63 at least 10 months before the next general elections.

The Judges noted the fact that the affected MPs were not heard in the petition but observed that their right to a hearing wasn’t violated in anyway because what was asked of court was whether the office of MP in the contested municipalities exists in terms of a vacancy under the Constitution before the next general elections. 

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