KAMPALA – The constitutional court will deliver its judgment on notice for a petition in which a section of MPs from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) are challenging the legality of President Museveni’s sole candidature for 2021 and beyond.
A panel of five judges headed by Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo said that they will deliver judgment on notice.
Other judges are Kenneth Kakuru, Frederick Egonda Ntende, Cheborion Barishak and Christopher Madrama.
On February 19 this year, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of NRM sitting at Chobe Safari Lodge in Nwoya District resolved to adopt President Musveni who doubles as the party chairman as a sole candidate for 2021 presidential elections and beyond.
A section of NRM ‘rebel’ MPs asked the Constitutional Court to nullify a decision of CEC that selected President Museveni as sole candidate for 2021 and beyond arguing that it was a violation of the Constitution.
The NRM leaning MPs argued that the decision of the ruling party is in contravention of the Constitution that requires internal party democracy to conform to the national Constitution.
Medard Ssegona Lubega, the lead lawyer for the MPs asked the court to exercise its powers to allow the petition and make orders for legal costs.
NRM lawyer Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka asked the court to dismiss the petition reasoning that it does not raise any issue for Constitutional interpretation, hence filed in a wrong court.
On jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, Mr Kiwanuka argued that there is sufficient avenue laid out in the Political Party Organizations Act as mechanisms for addressing disputes complaining to the National Electoral Commission who in turn can refer the matter to the High Court.
“There is a roadmap for choosing a presidential candidate set for November 2020 and hence no one has been locked out. What CEC is doing now, is guide the party politically by way of persuading the party members,” said Mr Kiwanuka adding that the decision of CEC is a mere recommendation that they intend to use to persuade the party members.
“From the evidence before court, there is nowhere it says CEC has said it will not recommend anybody else,” he added.
Asked to explain the circumstances under which CEC decided Museveni’s candidature, Mr Kiwanuka described it as a long term strategy that can be reviewed by a new leadership.
On the issue of the party chief whip denying them, there is no evidence to prove the complaint that they were denied invitations and accreditations to the NRM caucus.
The legislators including Lwemiyaga County MP Theodre Ssekikubo, Monicah Amoding (Woman MP Kumi), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga East), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya County), Patrick Nsamba Oshabe (Kassanda North), Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya), Samuel Lyomoki (Workers), Silvia Akello (Woman MP, Otuke), Susan Amero (Amuria) James Acidri (Maracha) and Jie County MP Moses Bildad Adome.
Through their lawyers led by Alaka and Company Advocates, the MPs contend that the act of CEC declaring Mr Museveni as a sole candidate 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.
“That the CEC of the respondent (NRM) itself did not and does not have the mandate and legitimacy to pass the sole candidate resolution of President Museveni or any other candidate for purposes of 2012 presidential elections and beyond since its term of office and powers lapses by June 30, 2020,” reads the petition.