By Andante Okanya Dibele
The NRM and the four expelled MPs have locked horns at the Supreme Court over an application seeking to restrain the Speaker of Parliament from ejecting them.
The MPs on Friday presented their application for the permanent injunction, saying that they have an appeal challenging the judgment and orders of the Constitutional Court that required them to vacate their seats.
The quartet is Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Mohammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) and Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga). Last year in May, the party booted them over indiscipline, and contravening party rules.
Peter Walubiri who led the legal team of the MPs, told court that the MPs would suffer irreparable damage if ejected.
“It is our prayer that a stay of execution and an injunction be granted so that the applicants appeal is not rendered nugatory,” stated Walubiri who was flanked by Caleb Alaka, also on the MPs legal team.
Walubiri asserted that the MPs were bound to suffer economic and fundamental rights if evicted before determination of their appeal.
On February 24, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah received a Constitutional Court decree instructing them to effect an order barring the four expelled MPs from accessing Parliament premises.
But in the March 6 Supreme Court ruling on an interim injunction, the court also stopped the Electoral Commission from holding by-elections in the respective constituencies of the four expelled MPs.
NRM legal team led by John Mary Mugisha, dismissed as baseless claims that the four would suffer irreparable loss.
Mugisha branded the allocation “grossly misconceived” and that the MPs had not demonstrated that their appeal had high chances of success.
He submitted that the quartet have an opportunity to pursue claims for compensation, even after being ejected.
He however asked court to institute stringent measures in the event that the application is allowed.
The panel of seven Justices were Bart Katureebe, Wilson Tsekooko, Benjamin Odoki, Galdino Okello, Jotham Tumwesigye, Esther Kisaakye, and Christine Kitumba.
Other lawyers on the NRM legal team were Joseph Matsiko, Chris Bakiza, and Severino Twinobusingye.
She asked the court to note the Constitutional provision that empowers the Electoral Commission to organise polls within 60 days after a seat has been declared vacant.
Ellison Karuhanga, representing Joseph Kwesiga, are respondent alongside NRM, implored court to determine the appeal, saying the current situation was causing anxiety amongst voters.
The ruling date on the application was not stated. However, Justice Katureebe said it would be communicated at a later date.