Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43
Court Quashes Decision Dismissing EALA Election Case :: Uganda Radionetwork
Breaking

Court Quashes Decision Dismissing EALA Election Case

Top story
"In the result, I find that the trial Judge erred in dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction, without recourse to the EACJ preliminary reference mechanism for a preliminary ruling on such issues raised in the petition as called for Treaty interpretation,” said Mugenyi.
29 Nov 2023 16:13
EALA MPs Dennis Namara and Paul Musamali .
The Court of Appeal in Kampala has overturned the High Court decision, which dismissed a petition challenging the election of Uganda’s representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly-EALA. The Court, composed of Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Catherine Bamugemereire, and Monica Mugenyi ordered that the matter be reevaluated by the High Court to determine its merits under another judge. 

The appellant court also ordered each party to meet its own costs of the suit. This judgment follows a case filed by unsuccessful candidates from the September 29th, 2022 election including Gilbert Agaba, Josephine Lolem, Salaama Adelaide Nakitende, and Lauben Bwengye Muhangi.

They contested the election of the eventual winners, alleging irregularities such as electoral fraud and violence. The successful candidates include Akol Rose Okullu, Dennis Namara, James Kakooza, George Stephen Odongo, Paul Mwasa Musamali, Veronica Kadogo Babirye, Maru Mugyenyi Mutamwebwa, Jacqueline Amongin, and Gerald Blacks Siranda.   The petitioners alleged that the election, declared by the speaker of parliament, Annet Anita Among, and published in the Uganda Gazette, violated the EAC treaty and the Ugandan Constitution. During the hearing, the respondents raised objections regarding the jurisdiction of the trial court to interpret the EAC treaty and questioned the admissibility of additional affidavits filed after pleadings were closed.

The trial judge, Dr. Douglas Singiza, dismissed the petition on March 15th, 2023, citing lack of jurisdiction, a decision that prompted an appeal. The appellants argued that the trial judge misinterpreted Article 52(1) of the Treaty, which designates the authority to determine membership in the assembly to the Institution of the Partner State. 

They also contested the judge's decision to award costs to the respondents and cited errors in disregarding precedents from the East African Court of Justice. In its ruling Wednesday, the Court of Appeal held that the High Court indeed has jurisdiction under Article 52(1) of the treaty to adjudicate matters concerning the election of Uganda's representatives to EALA.

"… it becomes abundantly clear that the High Court of Uganda would be the national organ that is envisaged under Article 52 (1) of the Treaty to determine electoral contestations arising from an election of Uganda's representatives to EALA,” said Mugenyi who wrote the lead judgment.  

They emphasized that the High Court's authority is derived from section 60(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, interpreted within the context of Article 52(1) of the treaty. The Justices explained that if the trial judge identified treaty-related questions beyond their jurisdiction, they should have paused the hearing, formulated these questions, and referred them to the East African Court of Justice for a binding determination.

Justice Mugenyi, who authored the lead judgment, concluded that the trial judge erred by dismissing the petition without using the EACJ preliminary reference mechanism for treaty interpretation. "In the result, I find that the trial Judge erred in dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction, without recourse to the EACJ preliminary reference mechanism for a preliminary ruling on such issues raised in the petition as called for Treaty interpretation,” said Mugenyi.

Support us


Images 1

Keywords