By Andante Okanya
Justice Ruby Opio Aweri of the Constitutional Court has cautioned two political parties calling for the disbandment of the Electoral Commission (EC), to pursue their case with utmost urgency, lest he dismisses it.
The judge was prompted to issue the threat at the court in Kampala, when the lawyer for the two political parties Cranmer Tayebwa absented himself from court.
The political parties are Reform Party (RP) and Movement Volunteer Mobilisers Organisation(MVMO). State attorneys Richard Adrole and Gerald Batanda represented the Attorney General(AG). The EC had no representative.
The party chairmen Robert Ndyomugenyi(RP), and Apollo Nyabongo(MVMO) were present. However, Ndyomugyenyi lamented that Tayebwa had not given them an explanation on his absence.
The court session was meant to inform the judge on the progress of the formulation of conferencing notes to guide the course of the case and identify the contentious points for deliberation.
“If you cannot schedule, I will dismiss it myself. I am granting the last adjournment. We should not waste time,” Aweri said in his stern warning.
Accordingly, the case was adjourned to next year January 16.
The case arose on September 20 when the two political parties asked the Constitutional Court to disband the EC, alleging that it lacks a national outlook in the current multiparty political dispensation.
The EC is jointly listed with the AG as co-respondents. The political parties cite conflict of interest on grounds that the EC is appointed by the President, who heads a political organisation.
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.
But 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.