Court restrains EALA, AG and Parliament of Uganda from conducting EALA election unless and until the Rules are amended.
ARUSHA, Tanzania, May 10, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Today a full bench of the First Instance Division ordered that the Parliament and the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda and East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) are restrained and prohibited from conducting and carrying out any elections of members to the EALA, assembling, convening, recognizing, administering Oath of office or otherwise howsoever presiding over or practicing in the election of the Representatives of Uganda and recognizing of any names of nominees as duly nominated and elected to the EALA until the Rules 11(1) and Appendix B r 3, 10,11 of the Rules of procedure of the Parliament of Uganda 2006 are amended by the Parliament of Uganda to conform to the provisions of Article 50 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
Delivering the judgment Justices Busingye Johnston, Pincipal Judge, Stella Arach, Deputy Principal Judge, John Mkwawa, Judge, Jean Bosco Butasi and Isaac Lenaola, Judges, found and held that the Applicants, Uganda's Democratic Party, have made out a case that the Rules of 2006 do not conform to the Treaty accordingly and they are entitled to orders that will restrain the Parliament of Uganda from conducting EALA elections unless and until they amend the Rules. The Rules were declared null and void by Uganda's Constitutional Court in 2008 because they contained, among other controversial provisions, numerical strength of the political parties in Parliament as a basis for representation in the EALA. The Court said this does not conform to Article 50 of the Treaty which provides that representation in the Regional Parliament shall comprise, as much as is feasible, political parties, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in each Partner State.
The case against the Secretary General EAC that he has failed to supervise the government of Uganda to ensure that the Parliament amends its laws to conform to Article 50 of the Treaty was dismissed with no orders as to costs. The Court held that the conduct of the Republic of Uganda, in not moving to amend the Rules for four years, forced the Applicants to seek its intervention and consequently condemned the Attorney General of the Republic Uganda to pay the costs of this Reference to the Applicants.
The Court also encouraged the EAC Secretariat to establish as a matter of administrative principle, a standard practice of following up on allegations of Treaty infringements and violations once it receives formal communication about them.
In an interview Mr. Phillip Mwaka representing the Attorney General Uganda, emphasized that Rule 11(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda has been amended, but the Parliament is still working on amending Appendix r3 which omits consideration of other shades of opinion for the elections to be conducted under Appendix B r3 to conform to Article 50 (1) of the Treaty. He added that EALA's next Assembly is supposed to start 4th June; therefore the Parliament has to finish the process very fast, so as to have elections by 15th April.
Mr. Justin Semuyaba represented Uganda's Democratic Party and one Mr. Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Uganda's Attorney General was represented by Ms Christine Kaahwa, Principal State Attorney and Mr Philip Mwaka, Principal State Attorney both from The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Uganda. The Secretary General was represented by the Counsel to the East African Community, Hon. Wilbert T.K.Kaahwa.