KAMPALA —The Constitutional Court in Kampala has on Friday December 27 nullified and thrown out six Members of Parliament on grounds that they contested for non-existing constituencies.
All the affected Members of Parliament are from the new created municipalities of Bugiri , Apac, Nebbi, Kotido, Ibanda and Sheema.
The affected MPs are; Mr Patrick Ochan (Apac, UPC party), Dr Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema, NRM party), Mr Tarsis Rwaburindore (Ibanda, NRM party), Mr Hashim Sulaiman (Nebbi, NRM party), Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri, Jeema party) and Mr Abraham Lokii (Kotido, NRM party)
All the five judges of the Constitutional Court led by Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo unanimously agreed Eddie Kwizera, who claims to be a concerned citizen and a petitioner that the election of the six MPs before the dissolution of the existing Parliament was null and void.
Other judges on the bench included Kenneth Kakuru, Cheborion Barishaki, Fredrick Engonda- Ntende and Christopher Madrama reasoned that the election of the six MPs cannot stand because “they offered them selves to contest for constituencies whose administrative units, villages or cells had not yet been demarcated by the Electoral Commission”.
Justice Christopher Madrama who wrote the lead judgment noted that: “In the premises, I would hold that elections conducted in the six affected municipalities mentioned in the judgment are not elections for an office of Member of Parliament existing under the Constitution because they are not general elections or by-elections. Secondly, the seats contested for did not have a vacancy and were already represented by elected MPs in the general elections of 2016”.
Quoting the law, justices noted such constituencies created by division of others takes effect in the next general election but not by elections.
The judges have also explained that much as Parliament has the power to divide Uganda into so many constituencies and the Electoral Commission is charged with a duty to ensure that each constituency is represented in Parliament but this can only be done during a General Election or in a case of a by -election after the speaker of Parliament announces an existing vacancy.
To buttress their ruling , the justices have further explained that there were representatives already elected during the 2016 general elections before the new municipalities were curved out and that in any case, the Electoral Commission ought to have waited for the 2021 General elections to get representatives for the new municipalities created in August 2018.
Judges have also ordered the Electoral Commission to pay half of the total costs to Kwizera for causing an inconvenience to innocent people (six affected MPs) by making them leave whatever they had to do and also incur costs to take part in unlawful elections and contest for non-existing vacancies.