By Andante Okanya
Two political parties have asked the Constitutional Court to disband the Electoral Commission (EC) on grounds that it lacks a national outlook in the current multiparty political dispensation.
In the petition filed on September 20, Reform Party (RP) and Movement Volunteer Mobilisers Organisation (MVMO), contend that the current EC is not independent.
The EC is jointly listed with the Attorney General (EC) as co-respondents. Through Tusasirwe and Company Advocates, the petition is supported by the affidavits of Robert Ndyomugyenyi (chairman RP), and Apollo Nyabongo (president MVMO).
Ndyomugyenyi contends that since the EC is appointed by the President, who heads a political organisation, there is conflict of interest.
“The 1st respondent (EC) in carrying out its duties has been under the direction and control of the ruling party and the government organs, this conflicting with the provisions of the constitution,” Ndyomugyenyi states.
He alleges breach of the Constitution, when new constituencies have been created due to political pressure, saying the EC is not consulted.
Nyabongo asserts that the courts have on several occasions ruled that the EC has “failed to carry out its mandate as per the Constitution.”
The two parties are part of the 10 political parties facing a de-deregistration threat after the EC petitioned the High Court to grant it permission to do so.
EC purports the parties are inactive, saying they have not updated their profiles in the commission's records. The electoral body also contends that they have not submitted to the commission a written declaration stating their source of funding and other assets, as required by law.
The petitioners want court to declare that the appointment of the EC top leadership by the President is unconstitutional in the current multiparty dispensation.
They want court to order for the enactment of a new law to show independence in the appointment of the EC chairman, vice chairman, and the five commissioners.
The respondents are yet to file their answers to the petition. A hearing date is yet to be fixed.