In a majority judgment delivered this morning, the Justices noted that Electoral Commission and the government are most likely to suffer irreparable loss if the judgment is executed since they have shown exceptional circumstances to that effect.
Lawyer for Electoral Commission Eric Sabiiti, Constitutional Law don Wandera Ogalo and Ben Wacha waiting for the court to start.
The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of a
Constitutional Court judgment annulling the election of legislators from six
newly created municipalities.
The affected legislators are Patrick Ocan from
Apac Municipality, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, Sheema Municipality, Tarsis
Rwaburindore Bishanga, Ibanda Municipality, Hashim Sulaiman, Nebbi
Municipality, Abrahams Lokii, Kotido Municipality and their Bugiri municipality
counterpart, Asuman Basalirwa.
In a majority judgment delivered
this morning, the Justices noted that Electoral Commission and the government are
most likely to suffer irreparable loss if the judgment is executed since they
have shown exceptional circumstances to that effect.
These include among others the fact that Electoral Commission Road Map for the 2021 Elections is already out and
failure to issue an order staying the execution of the lower court decision will
affect the government. The judges also noted that the applicants satisfied
them on a pending appeal that may raise public and legal issues, which needs
to be determined and hence the need to maintain the status quo.
To this effect, the panel of the justices comprising Mike
Chibita, Stella Arach, Professor Lillian Tibatemwa, Richard Buteera, Opio Aweri
and Paul Mugamba ordered the stay of execution of the lower court orders until the
Supreme Court orders otherwise. They also directed the Constitutional
Court Registrar to expeditiously prepare the records of the proceedings to help
in the appeal case.
However, Justice Dr Esther
Kisakye disagreed with her colleagues and declined to sign the majority ruling,
saying one doesn't have to prove exceptional circumstances to file an
application for stay of execution before the Supreme Court. Kisaakye said there
was need to settle that issue so as to resolve confusion in the laws
because one can directly file an application in the Supreme Court.
In January 2020, Electoral Commission and
Attorney General filed an application seeking the stay of the Constitutional
Court orders on grounds that they were to suffer irreparable damage if the
orders arising from the judgment are not stayed.
It came after the Constitutional
Court Judges led by the Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo ordered the
six legislators from the newly created municipalities to vacate parliament on
grounds that they were elected into non-existing constituencies as they
were created after the 2011 General Elections contrary to the existing
The said decision arose from a petition filed by the former
Bufumbiro East Member of Parliament, Eddie Kwizera who challenged the legality
of the said constituencies. Speaking to Journalists shortly after the court session,
Asuman Basalirwa, the Bugiri Municipality MP, said their stay in parliament has
been hanging in balance. He said the ruling offers them some relief to continue
representing their voters effectively.
Electoral Commission lawyer, Eric
Sabiiti also welcomed the ruling, saying they are going to prepare for
their pending appeal adequately.