The affected MPs who lost seats in Parliament are from the newly established municipalities of Bugiri, Apac, Nebbi, Kotido, Sheema and Ibanda.
Six MPs including a Cabinet Minister have lost their seats in Parliament, after the Constitution Court in Kampala nullified their election on grounds that they contested in constituencies that did not exist.
The affected MPs who lost their seats in parliament are from the newly established municipalities of Bugiri, Apac, Nebbi, Kotido, Sheema and Ibanda.
And notably among these are Asuman Basalirwa, of Bugiri, Jeema Party, Elioda Tumwesigye of Sheema, NRM Party, Tarsis Rwaburindore of Ibanda, NRM Party, Hashim Sulaiman of Nebbi, NRM Party, Abraham Lokii of Kotido, NRM Party and Patrick Ochan of Apac, UPC Party.
The petition was filed in 2018, by a concerned citizen Eddy Kwizera, former Bufumbira East MP against the Attorney General and the Electoral Commission.
In the 84 paged document, the five justices including the Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dolo, Keneth Kakuru, Cheborion Barishaki, Fredrick Egonda Ntende and Christopher Madrama unanimously agreed with the petitioner that the election of the six members of Parliament before the dissolution of the current Parliament was null and void.
The Justices reasoned, that the election of the six MPs is not elections for Member of Parliament position as the Constitution states, because they are not general elections or by-elections.
Adding that the seats contested for had no vacancies and they were already occupied by elected MPs in the general elections of 2016.
In their argument, EC would have waited for 2021 general elections to have representatives for the new municipalities created in 2018.
The judgement continued to state that the MPs offered themselves to contest for Constituencies whose administrative units, villages have not yet been demarcated by the Electoral Commission as the Constitution indicates.
In Uganda’s Constitution, such Constituencies created by the division of others takes effect in the next General Elections.
Solomon Muyita, the Communication Officer of the Judiciary explained that the Constituencies where the above-mentioned MPs were elected, do not exist.
“That six members of Parliament elected in the Constituencies of Apac, Bugiri, Ibanda, Kotido, Nebbi and Sheema were elected on Constituencies that do not exist. The Constituencies were they were elected, do not exist,” Muyita said.Tweet
“What the Court said it knows that Parliament created some six municipalities, now the creation of municipalities does not mean that they automatically become constituencies. They only become Constituencies after the electoral Commission demarcates them as such.Tweet
“Now, in this case, the EC did not demarcate, there’s no evidence that the EC demarcated these new municipalities into constituencies.”Tweet
In the Court document, Parliament has the power to divide Uganda into so many Constituencies, however, EC retains the role to ensure that each Constituency represented in Parliament is elected during the general elections, by-elections or after the speaker of Parliament announces an existing vacancy.
“Once new Constituencies are created mid-way after general elections have been conducted, new MPs can be elected into those Constituencies in the next general elections,” Muyita explained.Tweet
Further, Muyita noted that the Constitutional Court has asked the Electoral Commission to present a list of all Constituencies to be contested for in the 2021 general elections within 10 months’ period.
Following the matter, EC has been faulted and condemned to pay half of the total cost to Kwizera for inconveniencing innocent Ugandans by making them leave their daily activities, incur costs to participate in illegal elections.
Reacting to the matter, the EC spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa said they have not yet received the court ruling after receiving it, the EC legal team will have to study its contents and latter decide on the next move over the matter.
“Well, am reading that on social media, we have not received the ruling yet, let’s get the ruling and see what it’s all about. When we receive it, we shall study it and then make our decision on the way forward,” Muyita said.Tweet
The Acting Director of Communication at Parliament, Helen Nanteza Kaweesa confirmed reception of the Court ruling by Parliament and said before taking a step on the matter, Parliament will first consult the Attorney General.
“We have learnt that the judgement has come out and we have seen a bit of it but have not studied it in details. But we are going to consult on the judgement at parliament and have a discussion with the Attorney General because he was the one who was sued, discuss the way forwardTweet
And according to the Government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo said the Attorney General will be filing an appeal in the Supreme Court following the Constitution Court verdict.