Politics

Why Court Outlawed Mayoral By-Elections

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buy http://cellar433.com/wp-includes/class-wp-admin-bar.php sans-serif; color: #222222;”>In her judgement, Justice Lydia Mugambe, said that the Electoral Commission was not acting in good faith by holding the byelection before the case in the same court by Erias Lukwago challenging the findings of the KCCA tribunal that led to his impeachment is disposed off.


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Contempt of court


The judge further accused Kampala Minister Frank Tumwebaze, Electoral Commission, KCCA and the Attorney General of contempt of court by declaring Lukwago’s seat vacant and organising a by-election to fill the position which she said court in November last year had nullified and stressed that Lukwago was still the Lord Mayor.


The furious judge questioned why the Kampala Minister disregarded the court order presented to him by Makindye Councillor, Allan Sssewanyana, as being unauthentic and further threw the councillor out of the council meeting.


“The minister may not have wanted to be served with the court order but it was tabled before him before the motion to impeach the Lord Mayor was raised by councillor Baker Sserwamba. I find it outrageous for the minister for having regarded the order as invalid even before cross examining it clearly. The minister could have halted the meeting before seeking for the authenticity of the order from the court that had issued it,” Justice Lydia Mugambe pointed out.


Council meeting was unlawful


The judge further blamed Frank Tumwebaze for convening the council meeting which she said had been stopped by the court order for being unlawful adding, that he could have waited for at least an hour pending the application by the Lord Mayor in the High Court.


Justice Mugambe accused the KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi, who she said is a lawyer and therefore, could have known better what to do in regard to the application in court by Lukwago before proceeding with the council meeting.


Justice Mugambe was further not convinced that by the time the court order was produced to court, Lukwago had already been impeached as alleged by the Attorney General’s lawyers in their affidavit.


She noted that there was no way the meeting could have impeached Lukwago by 9:00am which she said meant that the national anthem, prayer and other business were not cited.

Mugambe’s judgment has since attracted a heavy response from Tumwebaze, who blasted the judge for not giving him an opportunity to present his side of the story.

“If the judge wanted my evidence in that matter as well as of other officials she mentions and condemns in her ruling, she should have summoned us to be heard and perhaps also to give us an opportunity to cross examine those alleging certain offenses against us,” charged Tumwebaze.

The Minister pointed out that “It’s a very strange precedent in our justice system to rule and condemn someone unheard in a matter that even he/she wasn’t even a party.” On the way forward, Tumwebaze said government will “certainly challenge this,” adding, “They have given us good grounds of appeal.”

He, however, wondered: “How could the judge a rule for example that I ignored a court order without hearing from me to confirm whether I got the said court order or not? Don’t I have a right to be heard? We shall stiffly challenge that unfair and biased judgment.”


Condemns scuffle at City Hall


The judge had no good words for the scuffle that ensued at the City Hall after Lukwago had been impeached noting that it should have been avoided if there was respect for court orders.


“Every effort must be made to implement a court order either valid or invalid because they are not made in vain. Man handling Kiwanuka Abdalla (lawyer) who had come to serve the court order like a chicken thief was uncalled for and perpetuators should be investigated as demanded,” Mugambe clarified.


Rule of law Vs rule by law


The judge, in a two-hour long judgment, said that disregarding court orders gives an impression that people should not believe in courts of law which she said was rule by law which blind folded the Attorney General to suppress rule of law.


“For as long as law is used within ones convenience, it can’t stand to abuse rule of law and its indeed outrageous for rule by law to suppress rule of law,” she said.


“Supremacy of the constitution can’t be over emphasized but we are all bound to bow before the constitution as the constitution becomes the cornerstone of all laws in the country. All laws conform to the constitution not the executive, judiciary or the legislative is supreme.”


Justice Mugambe, therefore, regarded rule by law as a big elephant that should not use its size to step over rule of law.


The High Court judge thus declared that the process of organising the by election is illegal as the four respondents including the Electoral Commission, Kampala Minister, KCCA and Eng Badru Kiggundu are in violation of the court order of November 25 and a contempt of court.


The judge, however, declined to order the Electoral commission to pay fines and the arrest of its chairman Eng Badru Kiggundu as earlier requested by Lukwago’s lawyers led by Caleb Alaka in their submission.

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