Uganda Law Society warns Parliament
ULS President Kinobe warns Parliament against contempt of court. FILE PHOTO

Uganda Law Society President Kinobe warns Parliament against contempt of court

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has issued a warning against contempt of court if members of Parliament continue to spend the contested 20 million shillings following a court order banning them from using the funds.

The Uganda Law Society President, Simon Peter Kinobe says the laws are supreme, so it was not right for Parliament to respond to the Attorney General’s advice on the court order in such an irrespective manner.

Kinobe says the court order that was issued stopping Parliament from continuing with the distribution of the 20m Uganda shillings should be respected.

However, he says the current position of Parliament, amounts to contempt of court.

“As to whether the status quo is maintained by the order of the court, yes it is and anybody that operates or acts outside that order of court stands a risk of being charged with contempt of court. So, my advice would be if you are disgruntled with the order, appeal, apply for a review, make an application, but do not disregard that order,” Kinobe said.

Kinobe notes that Parliament is not immune to court and in any case, Members of Parliament have a right to go to court and seek redress on any matter of concern.

“Anybody has a right to sue you, you have a right to sue and I think it’s in order, what I do not understand why the 10 billion is raking havoc in Parliament and that’s I think my concern because if it’s justified, it was procured following the proper procedures, why is it raking so much havoc?”

Uganda Law Society warns Parliament
ULS President Kinobe warns Parliament against contempt of court. FILE PHOTO

Kinobe says Kadaga’s language used at the time in Parliament was uncalled for because the Speaker had invited in the Attorney General (AG), William Byaruhanga to advice the House on the matter.

He adds that the court’s ruling must be respected whether it is null or valid, regular or irregular; no one is allowed to act contrary to the court’s order.

According to Kinobe, Parliament would either file for a review or an appeal to express their dissatisfaction rather than declining court’s order.

“When a court of law makes an order regardless of whether you agree with it or not, regardless of whether it’s fair, regardless of whether it’s just or unjust you are required by law to obey that court order to the latter until it’s set aside by another court order. So, you can use avenues like appeal or review to set aside an order you are dissatisfied with or you are not happy with, but it’s not proper to disregard a court order just because you do not agree with it,” Kinobe said.

Meanwhile, Kinobe says there are irregular lines between the Judiciary and Legislature apart from a few instances of disrespect between the two arms of government.

Last week, Speaker Kadaga said Parliament needs to find a way of dealing with legislators who sued Parliament to court following the allocation of the 20m Uganda shillings to each legislator.

Kadaga on the same issue also backed off the Attorney General (AG) when he tried to defend the court’s action of stopping the distribution of 20m shillings to legislators.

“You cannot solve Parliamentary issues in the court, that’s stupidity, stupidity. Don’t encourage the court to overrun Parliament, no!” Kadaga said.

The 20m in question is part of the supplementary budget passed to help in the fight against coronavirus in the country, out of it 20m Uganda shillings were allocation to legislators to help them in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in their respective constituencies.