However, in a majority judgement, the Constitutional Court justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo dismissed the petition on grounds that it does not raise any issue for constitutional interpretation.
COURT | NRM | PARLIAMENT
The court has dismissed a petition in which eleven Members of Parliament sought to block President Yoweri Museveni from being National Resistance Movement (NRM) sole candidate in the 2021 presidential elections.
The MPs belonging to the NRM had petitioned the Constitutional Court, challenging President Museveni's sole candidature on grounds that they were unfairly blocked from participating in the parliamentary caucus retreat at Kyankwazi where the sole candidature resolution was adopted.
The MPs include Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County), Monicah Amoding ( Kumi district), Barna
re (Buyaga West County), John Baptist Nambeshe Mayinja County), and Patrick Oshabe Nsamba (Kassanda County North).
Others are Gaffa Mbatekamwa (Kasambwa County), Samuel Lyomoki (Workers MP), Silvia Akello (Otuke district), Susan Amero (Amuria district), James Acidri (Maracha East County), and Moses Bildad Adome (Jie County).
However, in a majority judgement, the Constitutional Court justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo dismissed the petition on grounds that it does not raise any issue for constitutional interpretation.
The judgement was delivered on Thursday in the presence of NRM lawyers Usaama Sebuufu and Kiryowa Kiwanuka of K&K Advocates (formerly Kiwanuka and Karugire Advocates) and Medard Ssegona for the petitioners.
"Although the petitioners claim that the acts of NRM agents violated provisions of the Constitution, in reality all their issues are matters that would offend the provisions of NRM constitution," Owiny-Dollo noted.
Justices Cheborion Barishaki, Izama Madrama, and Fredrick Egonda-Ntende agreed with Owiny-Dollo while Kenneth Kakuru partly dissented in his judgement.
Justice Barishaki said the right to attend caucus meetings is an infringement that can be enforced under Article 50 of the Constitution by making an application to the high court.
In his partly dissenting judgement, Kakuru declined to struck out the petition on account of lack of jurisdiction by the court but dismissed it for lack of merit, saying the petitioners failed to prove what they set out in their petition.
On Feburary 19, 2019, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) met at Chobe Safari Lodge in Murchison Falls National Park, Nwoya district in northern Uganda and resolved that President Museveni should be the party's flag-bearer in the 2021presidential elections.
This prompted the MPs to petition court, contending that the act of theCEC to declare Museveni as a sole candidate during its four-day retreat, "blocked and suffocated interests of other would-be individuals in the party, who have ambitions to become presidential candidates to contest for the 2021 elections."
The MPs also argued that CEC lacked the mandate to declare President Museveni as a presidential candidate for 2021 in the middle of this term (2016-2020) because CEC's five-year tenure of office was due to expire on June 30, 2020 and, therefore, have no business in the next coming elections.
MPs had therefore demanded the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional, all the CEC resolutions.
The MPs also wanted court to declare as null and void a resolution by the party's CEC to declare President Yoweri Museveni as the party's sole candidate for the 2021 presidential elections and beyond.
In response, NRM lawyers argued that the petition was frivolous, misconceived and amounted to abuse of court process.
According to the supporting affidavit sworn by the party's director for legal services Oscar Kihika, the issue raised in the petition by the MPs do not require interpretation of any provision of the Constitution.
"The petition is an abuse of court process in sofar as it is a disguised action for the alleged non-compliance with and or enforcement of the political parties and Organization's Act, 2005 which is the national electoral commission's mandate and not for court," the party's director for legal services Oscar Kihika stated in his affidavit.
The party maintained that in declaring President Museveni as a sole presidential candidate for 2021 elections and beyond, it does not bar any one with qualifications to express interest to contest for the same position since it is not the final stage of a national election.
Counsel Ssegona said they will appeal against the majority judgement.
Report by Barbra Kabahumuza and Michael Odeng