KAMPALA – The ruling party NRM has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss with costs a petition filed by 11 of its MPs who are opposing a resolution by CEC that declared president Museveni as a sole candidate for the 2021 presidential elections and beyond.
Through its lawyers of K$ K advocates, NRM claims the petition filed by MPs; Theodre Sekikuubo, Monicah Amonding, Barnarbs Tinkansiimire , Jonh Baptist Nambeshe, Patrick Nsamba, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, Samwuel Lyomoki, Akello Sylvia, Susan Amero, James Acidri and Moses Adome raises no issues that require a Constitutional interpretation.
According to the supporting affidavit sworn by the party’s director for legal services Mr Oscar Kihika, the CEC’s recommendation of president Museveni is a political question and not a matter of judicial consideration to be adjudicated upon by a court of law.
In its response, the party maintains that in declaring president Museveni as a sole presidential Candidate for 2021 elections and beyond, it does not bar anyone with qualifications to express interest to contest for the same position since it is not the final stage of a national election.
In April this year, the MPs dragged their party to court contending that the act of CEC In declaring Museveni as a sole candidate during its four day retreat at Chobe Safari Lodge in Nwoya blocked and suffocated interests of other would be individuals in the party who have aspirations to become presidential candidates to contest for the 2021 elections.
The MPs pointed out their colleague Sam Lyomoki who is representing workers as one of those affected by the sole candidature declaration saying it was made in total disregard of his presidential aspirations that he had officially communicated to the Secretary General of his party on the 19th/January 2019.
These also claim the CEC had no mandate to declare M7 as a presidential candidate for the 2021 elections in the middle of this term (2016-2020) because it’s (CEC) 5-year tenure of office is due to expire in July 2020 and therefore have no business in the next coming elections.
Here the MPs contend that instead of grass root elections within the party had to be conducted from which CEC would recommend the successful candidates to the National delegates conference.
However, in further defence of its resolution, the party adds that it’s the duty of the National delegates conference -(which is the party’s supreme organ) to elect a presidential candidate to be sponsored by NRM from a list of members forwarded by the National Executive council.
The MPs further asked the court to intervene in the internal governance of their party which they contend is not Democratic at all because their party’s Secretary General Kasule Lumumba unfairly blocked them from participating in the parliamentary caucus retreat at Kyankwazi where the sole candidature resolution was adopted.
To this, the party has responded that the non-attendance of these MPs does not invalidate the sole presidential candidature resolution and their absence at Kyankwazi is not a question of Constitutional interpretation to warrant filing a petition.
NRM has now asked court to dismiss the petition because it’s an abuse of court process as it specifies no particular act committed by its CEC that infringed on the Constitutional right of any MP but rather a disguised move to challenge their party’s alleged non-compliance of political parties and organisations Act; something which the party says can be addressed through other remedies rather than a Constitutional interpretation.
The parties have been summoned to appear before the Registrar of the court on June 13, 2019, for a conferencing meeting to agree on triable issues.