search http://checkhimout.ca/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-terms-list-table.php geneva;”>this http://chopcult.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-polls/include/images/secure.php sans-serif;”>The hullabaloo of two and half weeks come to an end when the Speaker read the whole article 83 1 of the 1995 Constitution from (a) to (i) and concluded that there is no specific provision to expel the fourhelp http://decoreatelier.com/wp-admin/includes/bookmark.php sans-serif;”>
MPs from both sides of the house kept on jubilating as the speaker patiently read the articles of the constitution.
Below is the full statement by the Speaker
Honorable Members, you have heard about the much publicized letter from the Secretary General of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party informing the Speaker that the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the NRM Party had received a report and proceedings of its disciplinary committee and that four members of Parliament,namely-
Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo, MP Lwemiyaga County, Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba, MP Ndorwa East Constituency, Hon. Mohammed Nsereko, MP Kampala Central Constituency and Hon. Banarbas Tinkasimire,MP Buyaga West Constituencyhad been expelled from the NRM.
The letter also requested the Speaker to invoke her powers to direct the Clerk to Parliament to declare the seats of the said members vacant so as to enable the Electoral Commission to organize bye-elections in their respective constituencies.
Honorable members, you will appreciate that since we embraced the multiparty system of government this will be the first time that a political organization or party has expelled its members who are at the same time elected members of Parliament and formally requested the Speaker to direct the Clerk to declare their seats vacant.
Article 83 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides as follows-
“83. Tenure of office of members of Parliament.
(1) A member of Parliament shall vacate his or her seat in Parliament—
(a) if he or she resigns his or her office in writing signed by him or her and addressed to the Speaker;
(b) if such circumstances arise that if that person were not a member of Parliament would cause that person to be disqualified for election as a member of Parliament under article 80 of this Constitution;
(c) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, upon dissolution of Parliament;
(d) if that person is absent from fifteen sittings of Parliament without permission in writing of the Speaker during any period when Parliament is continuously meeting and is unable to offer satisfactory explanation to the relevant parliamentary committee for his or her absence;
(e) if that person is found guilty by the appropriate tribunal of violation of the Leadership Code of Conduct and the punishment imposed is or includes the vacation of the office of a member of Parliament;
(f) if recalled by the electorate in his or her constituency in accordance with this Constitution;
(g) if that person leaves the political party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to Parliament to join another party or to remain in Parliament as an independent member;
(h) if, having been elected to Parliament as an independent candidate, that person joins a political party;
(i) if that person is appointed a public officer.
(2) Notwithstanding clause (1) (g) and (h) of this article, membership of a coalition government of which his or her original political party forms part shall not affect the status of any Member of Parliament.
(3) The provisions of clauses (1) (g) and (h) and (2) of this article shall only apply during any period when the multiparty system of government is in operation.”
Therefore Honorable members, as you will note from the quoted Article of the Constitution and indeed from reading of the whole Constitution, there is no specific provision on the expulsion of members of Parliament by their political parties leading to the declaration of their seats in Parliament vacant.
This issue of the effect of the expulsion of members of Parliament from their political parties’ vis-à-vis their membership in Parliament is not new. You may recall it was a subject of vibrant debate during the 7th parliament while considering the Constitutional (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill, 2005.
Specifically the House was considering clause 26 (g) of the Bill which had clearly provided as follows-
“(g) if a person leaves a political organization or political party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to Parliament to join another political organization or political party or to remain in Parliament as an independent member or if he or she is expelled from the political organization or political party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to parliament”.
Indeed, after a spirited debate on the matter the mover of the Bill, the then Learned Attorney General proposed in his own words that, “Mr Chairman, the last time we discussed clause 26, it caused a lot of controversy. Honorable members expressed serious concern over what it meant. We can go into explaining what it meant and so on, but we propose that in the interest of peace that the clause be deleted”.
Indeed, the words from the clause that were deleted were the following- “…or if he or she is expelled from the political organization or political party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to parliament”
From the foregoing, as a Speaker of Parliament, it is my firm belief that a decision on this matter has the potential of having serious Constitutional ramifications.
This is especially so that the office of a Member of Parliament is a weighty office which goes to the core of our democracy and therefore a decision to declare such an office vacant can only be made on clear, unambiguous and unequivocal provisions of the law.
I don’t find such circumstances pertaining. The matter calls for caution on all parties involved. I am inclined to err on the side of caution and protect the interests of the members of Parliament as I am duty bound.
In the circumstances therefore, I am not persuaded beyond doubt that I should direct the Clerk to Parliament to declare the four seats vacant. I am fortified in taking this position by the decision of the Supreme Court of Uganda in Brigadier Henry Tumukunde vs. Attorney General & Another, Constitutional Appeal No. 02 of 2006.
I would like to conclude by quoting the unanimous decision of Supreme Court of this country in the above cited decision- “The reactions and powers of the Speaker should always be much more vocal and clear when the person of a Member of Parliament is threatened or its rules are challenged.
The oldest rules and conventions which have guided Parliaments, Speakers and Governments in free and democratic countries, particularly those of the Commonwealth of Nations date back to centuries.
In 1642, when Charles 1 of England, at the time, an absolute monarch attempted to arrest five members of the House of Commons and demanded that its Speaker Identify them so that they could be arrested, the then Speaker of Parliament, Lenthall, bravely, politely but firmly responded to the King, thus;
“Sire, I have neither the eyes to see no ears to hear except as directed by this House whose servant I am.”
I have communicated this position in my response to the letter to the Speaker from the Secretary General of the NRM that I earlier alluded to in this communication.
This is my ruling on the issue. We shall proceed to the next item of the agenda.