Rwakoojo had been dragged to court by fourteen members of the opposition, who sought to have him removed from office.
COURT ELECTORAL COMMISSION
KAMPALA - The secretary of the Electoral Commission (EC) Sam Rwakoojo is relieved after the court allowed him to continue serving as the commission's secretary.
Rwakoojo had been dragged to court by fourteen members of the opposition, who sought to have him removed from office saying he was not entitled for reappointment.
The applicants challenged the legality of Rwakoojo's contract on-premise that he had served beyond the statutory five years term contrary to section 5(3) (a) of the (EC) Act amended in 2010.
However, Electoral Commission lawyers Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Usaama Sebuufu from K&K Advocates argued that the amendment of the Electoral Commission Act of 2010 did not retrospectively affect Rwokoojo's existing contract after it was extended in 2009.
Kiryowa and Sebuufu argued that prior to the appointment of Rwakoojo, the commission sought the Attorney General's legal opinion on whether the secretary who had served beyond the required five years term, is entitled to reappointment.
The Attorney General advised that the reappointment of Rwakoojo was proper adding that the amendment is supposed to be applied prospectively.
Rwakoojo was appointed in 2001, a position he has continuously occupied. The contract was later revised in 2009 for another five years, upon expiry of the contract it was again extended in 2014. The contract has since been extended again from 2019 to 2024.
Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that by the time the amendment of 2010 was made, Rwakoojo was already serving as the secretary and the law could not be applied retrospectively.
"The secretary was eligible for reappointment for the second and last term of office as secretary of the Electoral Commission and therefore not holding office illegally as contended by the applicants," Ssekaana said.
Ssekaana said by the time the amendment was made Rwokoojo had a subsisting contract which was to run for a period of five years from 2009 to 2014.
"It is a fundamental rule of interpretation that a Statute other than one dealing with procedure shall not be construed so as to have retrospective effect unless the intention of the legislature that it should have such effects appears in terms or by clear and necessary implication," Ssekaana said.
The court dismissed the application and ordered that members of the opposition to pay costs to the Electoral Commission.