New Vision (Kampala)

East Africa: EAC Insists Sezibera Wrongly Sued Over EALA Polls

The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat insists that the secretary general Dr. Richard Sezibera was wrongly dragged to court over the contested election of the nine Ugandan representatives at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

In the petition filed this year on July 31, Jeremiah Birungi Kamurali and Aarali Byaruhanga, want court to declare that the nine as imposters, arguing that they were not vetted by the Parliament vetting committee.The elections were held on May 30.

But yesterday at the High Court in Kampala, EAC principal legal officer Dr Anthony Kafumbe told court presided by Justice Elizabeth Musoke, that before the case is heard, he would oppose the inclusion of Sezibera.

"We intend to make a preliminary objection to the petition," Kafumbe said, a call also supported by the Attorney General(AG), who has also since dismissed the petitioners claim as baseless, stating that the EALA legislators have a lawful mandate.

Court had scheduled to proceed with the case. However, the absence of the petitioners' lawyer Hassan Kamba meant that court could not proceed. The petitioners were present in court. The AG, represented by state attorney Maureen Ijang, also said he intended to raise a preliminary objection to the petition.

The nine representatives are Margaret Nantongo(NRM), Suzan Nakawuki(independent),Dennis Mukasa Mbidde(DP),Chris Opoka(UPC), Bernard Mulengani(NRM),Dan Fred Kidega(NRM),Nusura Tiperu(NRM),Dora Byamukama(NRM), and Mike Kennedy Sebalu(NRM). None was in court.

Through Kamba and Company Advocates, the duo claim they presented themselves for nomination at Parliament but were denied the opportunity. The Attorney General and the East African Community Secretary General Sezibera, are listed as respondents.

Additionally, they assert that the election was not in accordance with Articles 1 and 50 of the National Assembly rules, which provider for the election of special interest groups like youth and the disabled.

They state that none of the political parties represented, catered for the special interest groups. They contend that Sezibera erred when he allowed the nine to take oath, when not duly elected.

The petitioners assert that the election was not in accordance with Articles 1 and 50 of the National Assembly rules, which provide for the election of special interest groups like youth and the disabled. They state that none of the political parties represented, catered for the special interest groups.

But Sezibera notes that Article 50 clearly indicates that power is vested in the national assemblies of member states. He absolves himself of fault, saying he has no supervisory role over the assemblies.

Sezibera wants court to dismiss the petition, award him costs, and declare that he discharged his duty as stated in the EAC treaty. The AG has since filed his defence, and dismissed the duo's claims as baseless.

Accordingly yesterday, the judge instructed the parties to make written submissions, and serve court plus all parties. The ruling is expected to be delivered next year on February 5.

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