Lawyers abandon parties in EC disbandment case
Publish Date: Feb 11, 2014
Lawyers abandon parties in EC disbandment case
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By Andante Okanya

Lawyers have abandoned the political parties that want the Electoral Commission(EC) disbanded, the Constitutional Court has been told.

Appearing in court presided by Justice Ruby Opio Aweri of the Constitutional Court, Reform Party(RP) chairman Robert Ndyomugenyi, lamented that he found it difficult to coordinate with his lawyers.

“I do not know what is happening to my lawyers. It is the same as before, I cannot explain it but I can only say lawyers have abandoned us,” lamented Ndyomugenyi.

However, the judge was unfazed and threatened to dismiss the case, saying he detected a lack of unseriousness from the petitioners, since the case had dragged.

Aweri noted that the case could become another statistic in the case backlog, with blame directed at the judiciary.

City lawyer Cranmer Tayebwa previously represented the petitioners. However towards the end of the year, he quit but no reasons were given to court. Ndyomugenyi only told court that the petitioners had changed advocates.

RP and Movement Volunteer Mobilisers Organisation(MVMO)  filed a petition last year on September 20, demanding that EC be disbanded, alleging that it lacks a national outlook in the current multiparty political dispensation.

Monday’s court attendance for advocates in the judge’s records, indicated only the EC legal team led by Eric Sabiiti assisted by Hamid Lugolobi. Wilson Tyan appeared as EC representative.

The EC is jointly listed with the Attorney General 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 (NRM).

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, saying the parties  are inactive.

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.

The Constitutional Court proceedings were adjourned to  March 10.

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