National
Kadaga wants independent legal team for MPs
Publish Date: Aug 24, 2014
Kadaga wants independent legal team for MPs
Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Moses Walubiri

SPEAKER of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga wants an independent unit to handle legal matters of Parliament and not the Attorney General.

Under Article 119 of the constitution, the AG, as the principal legal adviser of the Government is mandated to legally represent its numerous institutions including parliament.

The relationship between parliament and the AG has been rather frosty following what Kadaga described last year as the AG, Peter Nyombi 'turning into a hostile witness' in a suit that parliament subsequently lost. 

“We are forcefully being represented by the AG. Every time our lawyers try to represent the institution, the AG thwarts them. But on this, we shall not relent to demand for independence from AG,” Kadaga told journalists on Friday.

Kadaga cited countries like Zambia whose parliament has an independent legal team representing its interests to push for similar changes in Uganda.

In the said suit, city lawyer, Severino Twinobusingye, successfully challenged the House’s resolution ordering Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, and two cabinet ministers – Hilary Onek and Sam Kutesa - to step aside over allegations that they had received kickbacks from companies prospecting for oil in Uganda.

Attempts by parliament’s legal team to put up a defense where thwarted by Nyombi, who later conceded to all issues raised by the plaintiff, thus causing the state sh13b loss in costs of the suit.

Kadaga also had a riveting standoff with Nyombi last year over the continued stay of four MPs that had been expelled from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) over accusations of indiscipline.

After the High Court ruled that the four beleaguered MPs – Muhammad Nsereko, Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Niwagaba and Barnabas Tinkasiimire – had lost their seats after their expulsion from NRM, Kadaga ignored Nyombi’s opinion augmenting court’s ruling.  

Article 83(1) (g) obligates an MP who leaves the political party on whose ticket he stood for election to vacate his seat. The point of contention in the case of the four MPs was whether they had left NRM by their expulsion.

The shadow Attorney General, Abdu Katuntu, subsequently petitioned court challenging Nyombi’s actions as an affront to the independence of parliament.

If parliament is to secure its independence from the AG, legal experts contend, a constitutional amendment to explicitly provide for it will be necessary.

“A constitutional amendment to provide for the position the Speaker is advancing is necessary. But beyond this, Kadaga’s position shows a fundamental breach of trust between two arms of government which does not augur well for the country,” Makerere University law don, Dr. Businge Kabumba opines.

Peter Walubiri, a constitutional expert, says that only a constitutional amendment “can guarantee parliament’s independence from the AG’s advice or misadvise.” 

“In light of Article 119, parliament cannot claim independence from AG,” Walubiri says, calling for a constitutional amendment to clear the blurred lines between the executive and legislature.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Museveni launches construction of Soroti fruit factory
CONSTRUCTION of a multibillion fruit processing factory based in Soroti district has been launched by President Museveni with emphasis to grow more fruits...
Govt verifies questionable applicants for National IDs
THE ministry of internal affairs has deployed a team to carryout citizenship verification on questionable applicants for the National Identity cards...
Minister warns city councilors against frustrating projects
The Minister in charge of the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze has warned city councilors against engaging in political disagreements that paralyse the city’s development projects....
NSSF: Jamwa
The hearing of the appeal in which former NSSF managing director David Chandi Jamwa is challenging his conviction and the sentence of 12 years imprisonment was on Thursday delayed until October 10....
Mother jailed for dumping her baby in toilet
Betty Naggujja will spend nearly two years behind bars after being convicted of dumping her newly-born child in a pit latrine....
World tourism numbers up 4.6 percent in first half: UN
International tourist numbers grew 4.6 percent in the first half of 2014, boosted by strong growth in the Americas, Asia and parts of Europe, the World Tourism Organisation said...
Should bride price be made optional?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter