21 February 2014

Uganda: Rebel MPs Thrown Out

Photo: Observer
Ugandan parliament.

Popularly known as "rebel MPs", they are, Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County), Mohammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga County) and Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East).

They were expelled from NRM in May 2013, for alleged indiscipline. Four of the five judges on the panel ruled that the MPs should have lost their seats the moment their political party, NRM, expelled them.

Justices Steven Kavuma, Faith Mwondha and Augustine Nshimye concurred with Justice Richard Buteera's majority judgement. They reasoned that when the MPs were expelled from the ruling party, it meant that they had also lost their parliamentary seats in accordance with Article 83 of the Constitution.

Only Justice Remmy Kasule dissented, arguing that the act of expelling them from a party didn't necessarily translate into loss of seats.

He was in effect agreeing with Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who kept the MPs in the House, arguing that there was no law compelling her to throw them out as demanded by NRM.

None of the four MPs was present during the delivery of the judgment. However, they had earlier indicated that they would appeal in the Supreme Court, if the judgment went against them.

They are expected to call a press conference this afternoon. The Constitutional Court initially ordered the removal of the MPs from Parliament, pending its decision after hearing the petition, but the MPs petitioned the Supreme Court against this decision and had it reversed.

Likewise it's believed that the Supreme Court will have the final say on this matter.

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