Newly elected Uganda Law Society (ULS) president says Justice Steven Kavuma’s interim order stopping FDC defiance activities has no justification.
In a statement dated 4/5/16, Francis Gimara describes the hearing as “politically charged”.
“We understand that on 29th April 2016, the Constitutional Court issued an interim order, among others, stopping the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Dr. Kizza Besigye from carrying out their demonstrations, inter alia, on 5th May 2016.”
He says although part of their mandate is to advise on legal matters, they have since had an opportunity to review copies of the orders and the petition.
“Particularly, we note that the application for the interim order was heard ex parte — in the absence of the respondents.”
Generally, courts are mandated to hear both parties in the determination of civil rights and liberties, Gimara said.
“Indeed, the practice of our courts has been that ex parte orders are granted in special circumstances where the delay caused by including all parties would or might entail irreparable damage or serious mischief.”
Indeed, even practice in the lower courts has since been altered by High Court Office Instruction No. 1/2014 which prohibits the hearing of interim applications ex parte and requires courts to inquire into and require the service and attendance of all interested parties.
In this case, Gimara says, ULS does not see any justification for hearing such a politically charged application where the Attorney General is the applicant ex parte.
“In fact, we believe that no exceptional danger would have arisen from effecting service on the respondents.”
He said the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda protects the rights of the parties and such rights should only be limited in proper circumstances including after due process of the law.
“We urge all the parties to use legal and constitutional means to address and redress whatever dispute and grievance they might have.”
The Executive Council of the Uganda Law Society called upon the Judiciary not to lead itself to conduct what appears to undermine the enjoyment of Human Rights and Freedoms.