Arusha, 13 September 2013: East African Court of Justice First Instance Division, today concluded its 3rd quarter session for a month with another hearing of a case challenging the legality of the election of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) members from the Republic of Uganda, which was filed by Ms. Among A. Anita from opposition Party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in Uganda against the Government of Uganda and the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC).
The matter, more or less the same as that of Hon. Abdu. Katuntu from the same political party FDC. However Ms. Anita went further and challenged that the Rules of Procedures of the parliament of Uganda were not gazetted before elections of the EALA members in May 30th 2012, hence an infringement of the Treaty.
The Respondents (Attorney General Uganda and EAC Secretary General) with the interveners Rt. Hon. Margareth Nantongo Zziwa, Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly and other 8 EALA Members from Uganda, all challenged the Applicant that the rules were gazzeted before election and there is no evidence for the Applicant to prove that they were not gazzeted. They also submitted that, the Applicant had gone beyond the limited jurisdiction of the Court that issues of the EALA elections are left to the National Assembly to entertain as provided in the Treaty for Establishment of the EAC. The respondents asked the Court to dismiss the reference with costs.
Appearing before Court were the Applicant Anita A. Among member of the FDC opposition political party in Uganda and her advocates Mr. Kyazze Joseph and Kiiza Simon; The Attorney General of Uganda (1st Respondent) represented by Mr. Phili Mwaka Principal State Attorney and Kibuuka Rashid, State Attorney; the Secretary General EAC represented by Hon. Wilbert Kaahwa Counsel to the Community (CTC) and the Advocate for the Interveners Mr. Justice Semuyaba.
The Court will deliver a judgment of this matter on notice.
The Court also dismissed a case that was challenging the costs which were awarded to the Republic of Uganda, to be paid to the Democratic Party (DP) and Fred Mukasa Mbidde EALA MP who won their case in a decision of the Court, to restrain the Parliament of Uganda from holding elections until the rules were amended to conform with Article 50 (1) of the Treaty. The Taxing officer (Court Registrar) awarded USD fifteen thousand ($15,000) to be paid to the Applicant, DP and Mukasa Mbidde for the case.
The First Instance Division has been able to handle a total of 24 matters this quarter including; 1 Judgment of the Alcon International Limited Kenya, 9 hearings, 8 scheduling conferences, 1 ruling and 5 taxation matters that came before the Registrar.
Notes for editors:
Article 50 (1) of the Treaty states; The National Assembly of each Partner State shall elect , not from among it s member s, nine member s of the Assembly, who shall represent as much a s it is feasible, the various political parties represented in the National Assembly,shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that Partner State, in accordance with such procedure a s the National Assembly of each Partner State may determine.
Rule 13 (1) of the procedure of the Parliament of Uganda states; The election members to the Assembly representing the various political parties and organizations represented in parliament, shade of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in Uganda shall be consensus by the political parties and other members of parliament.
Rule 13 (2) of the parliament of Uganda states; subject to r. (1) the speaker shall, where consensus is not reached put the matter to vote.
The Court will deliver the judgment on notice.
About the EACJ:
The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.
Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat. The High Courts of the Partner States serve as sub-registries.
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Prof. John Ruhangisa, Registrar
Ms. Geraldine Umugwaneza, Deputy Registrar
Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Department;
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East African Court of Justice