The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera has defended the election of Uganda\'s nine representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), saying it was lawful.
The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera has defended the election of Uganda's nine representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), saying it was lawful.
This was contained in a written defense filed on August 17 at the High Court in Kampala.
He was responding to the petition filed against him and Attorney General of Uganda Peter Nyombi by two aggrieved youth; Jeremiah Birungi Kamurali and Araali Tusiime Byaruhanga. The youth in their suit claim the election exercise was a sham and that he went ahead to administer oath to them.
According to his defense, Dr Sezibera claims that he supervised the oath-taking exercise for EALA MPs as stipulated in Article 67 of the EAC treaty which describes him as the EAC principal executive officer.
Further, Dr Sezibera states that there was no court order barring him from overseeing the oath-taking exercise.
The nine Ugandan representatives include ruling NRM party members Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, Bernard Mulengani, Dan Kidega, Dora Byamukama, Mike Kennedy Ssebalu and Nusura Tiperu. The others are Dennis Mukasa Mbidde of the Democratic Party, Chris Opoka of Uganda People’s Congress and Suzan Nakawuki, who went through as an Independent.
According to the petition filed on July 31, the NRM youths want court to declare that the nine EALA MPs are imposters and that they were not vetted by the Parliament vetting committee.
The elections were held on May 30 and the two aggrieved NRM youths claim Dr Sezibera erred when he allowed the nine to take oath, when they were not duly elected.
The petitioners assert that the election of the nine representatives was not in accordance with Articles 1 and 50 of the National Assembly rules, which provide for the election of special interest groups like youth and the disabled.
They state that none of the political parties represented, catered for the special interest groups.
The case file has been allocated to Justice Elizabeth Musoke, who is yet to fix a hearing date.
In May this year, shortly before the EALA elections, the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC petitioned the East African Court of Justice challenging the election of Uganda’s representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly. The party wanted an interim injunction halting the EALA elections in Uganda, arguing that Article 50 of the EAC Treaty was not being followed.
The party ended up fielding no candidate in the EALA race as they waited for the regional court to pronounce itself on the matter. The case is yet to be disposed of.