By Hillary Nsambu
THE Constitutional Court has declined to strike out from its record affidavits sworn by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni supporting a petition in which the NRM party seeks to unseat four party Members of Parliament.
“We are unable to accept the application by the applicants because we are not satisfied with the reasons presented. While it is true that the President is the fountain of honour, he enjoys his rights as any other citizen and he should not be denied the right to enjoy it.
The affidavits are, therefore, admissible on record of the court; we rule that the court should proceed to hear the main petitions that were amalgamated,” the ruling that was read by Justice Remmy Kasule read.
The ruling, however, prompted the lawyers representing the four MPs, expelled from the NRM party, to make yet another oral application asking the court to grant them permission to cross-examine President Museveni on his affidavits but; the court rejected it also.
In the ruling read by Justice Augustine Nshimye, the court said: “We are not satisfied with the argument that President Museveni should be invited to be cross-examined on his affidavits.”
This also prompted the lawyers for the MPs to table yet another oral application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, saying that the issue was very crucial for all the parties to have the matter decided once for all.
Medard Seggona-Kalyamaggwa had submitted that if the court granted them the permission sought, they would confine themselves within the parametres of the president’s points of facts as contained in his affidavits.
He submitted that they wanted to appeal to the Supreme Court over the issue, because the felt that it needed another judicial level to rule on once and for all.
Caleb Alaka also submitted that it was quite necessary for the court to allow them appeal to the Supreme Court, because its ruling on the issue would put the issue of whether the President should be cross-examined on affidavits he personally swore and are on court record.
He said that while they agree that the president is the fountain of honour, he should be cross-examined on facts they did not understand.
They said that In order for the court to conduct a fair hearing and arrive at a just decision, the court should be obliged to grant them the leave they sought so that the President could clarify the facts he mentioned in his affidavits, some of which happened in the 1960s very long before they were born.
However, the application was strongly opposed by John Mary Mugisha, lead counsel of the team that appears for the NRM party, Cheborion Barishaki, director of civil litigation in the Attorney General’s chambers and Counsel Elison Karuhanga representing another petitioner, Joseph Kwesiga, seeking to oust the MPs.
Acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, who chaired the panel, said that the court would give its ruling this morning on whether to grant the permission. The other Justices were Faith Mwondha and Richard Buteera.