Court is to decide today whether to grant the NRM ‘rebel’ MPs the temporary injunction barring their Party''s disciplinary committee from proceeding with the disciplinary hearing against them.
By Anne Mugisa and Hillary Nsambu
The High Court is to decide today whether to grant the NRM ‘rebel’ MPs the temporary injunction barring their party's disciplinary committee from proceeding with the disciplinary hearing against them.
Wilfred Niwagaba and Theodore Ssekikuubo appeared in Court on Monday and through their lawyer Wandera Ogalo, requested the Court to stop the NRM Party disciplinary committee.
They accused the committee of not serving them with the particulars of the complaints against them and yet it was proceeding in their absence though they would have wanted to defend themselves.
Their Colleague, Barnabas Tinkasimire did not appear in the Court, but the lawyer representing the NRM, Ntabirweki Kandeebe tendered in Court a recording of a TV programme where Tinkasimire vowed he will not appear before the Committee. Kandeebe said that the MPs are lying about not being served.
He said that the committee employed different means of serving them which included physical letters, SMSs, e-mails and direct phone calls to them but that they deliberately snubbed the Committee.
He said that despite all that, the Committee has not carried court any proceedings waiting for them to appear. So complaints of proceedings without them are false, he asserted.
He said that in his affidavit, Julius Kayinga, stated that he had used all means orthodox and modern including newspapers to get the papers to the MPs to ensure that the MPs appear before the Committee. Kandeebe argued that the MPs have even attached some of those notices "which clearly say come and be heard" to their petition.
Kandeebe also told the Court that to ensure that the MPs do not ever claim they were served, the brought copies of the committee queries and served them once again at the Court.
"Serving them here this morning is another effort to say to them go and be heard," he said. "As for Tinkasimire, I have this recording here of an NBS TV recording where he is saying he is innocent of the charges and for that reason, he will not appear before the Committee. So they cannot say they were never served…," he added.
Kandeebe further argued that the MPs application is misplaced because they brought it against the NRM yet the party has not taken any decision against the MPs.
What is happening, he said, is an internal matter before the party's disciplinary committee which does not make decisions as a party.
He explained that this application is based on their erroneous main petition for judicial review, which in effect is a prayer to quash the decision and order fresh proceedings, yet the party has not make any decisions.
"This is an internal disciplinary matter and the MPs know it as members of that party… this is not a matter on which to base an interim order… By their own application, they have shown that they submit to that disciplinary committee and wish to be heard,” he argued.
Kandeebe said that the disciplinary committee is not a court, but an internal tribunal of members and therefore following civil procedures rules does not hold. He asked the Court to dismiss the application with costs.
But in response, Ogalo said that there was no way the application would be brought to court without naming the NRM because the Committee belongs to the disciplinary committee belongs to the Party.
"Naming the NRM is so that the disciplinary committee does not turn around and say we did not know who is being sued. It does no harm," Ogalo said.
According to him, the committee cannot be sued in its own right. He insisted that the committee is proceeding against the MPs in their absence which was denying them the right to be heard.
He also complained that in this case, there is likely to be a serious case of bias. He said that one of the issues is that the MPs mentioned Temangalo which raises the case of one being "judge in his own case."
He did not expand on the argument because Kandeebe complained that he was trying to bring evidence in an application from a temporary injunction.
High Court Registrar, John Eudes Keitirima, will deliver his ruling today [Tuesday] at 4.00pm.
NRM rebel MPs battle party in Court