The Constitutional Court has declared that the presence of representatives of the army in parliament is illegal.
UPDF is represented by ten members in Parliament including; Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, Phinehas Katirima, Lakot Susan , Sarah Mpambwa Patience, Col. Innocent Oula, who replaced Gen. David Sejusa, Oketa Julius, Owoyesigire Jim, Lt Gen Charles Angina, Gen Elly Tumwine and the late Internal Affairs minister, Aronda Nyakairima.
Article 78(1) of the 1995 Constitution prescribes the composition of Parliament including such numbers of representatives of the army, youth, workers, persons with disabilities and other groups as Parliament may determine.
However, in a ruling drafted by five judges; Augustine Nshimye, Ruby Opio, Richard Buteera, Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, and read by justice Remmy Kasule on Tuesday, court said these representatives continued stay in the August House was illegal.
“The impugned law in relation to the election of the representatives of the army, youth and workers is void and we declare so in in accordance with Article 2 of the Constitution,” the ruling reads.
“We do grant an injunction against the respondents restraining them from conducting elections for the special interest groups of the army, youth and workers under the law that we have found unconstitutional.”
The ruling also moves that youth and workers representatives should vacate the august house.
It comes after a number of petitions filed in 2010 by a group of ‘concerned’ voters contesting the procedures that government uses in electing MPs for the special interest groups.
In a lengthy article published by New Vision, Col. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF political commissar, said UPDF’s presence in Parliament is not by chance.
“The UPDF representatives, just like other MPs, render faithful service to Parliament. The UPDF representatives push for the pro-people stance and they have been equal to the task, ever since the days of the National Resistance Council, the 6th, 7th, 8th Parliaments to the current 9th parliament,” Kulaigye wrote.
He added: “It is no wonder the Constituent Assembly 1994/95 and the 7th Parliament 2001/2006, which had a duty of assessing the continued stay of UPDF in Parliament, among other interest groups, overwhelmingly resolved so.”