The MPs were expelled from NRM by the Central Executive Committee chaired by President Museveni two years ago for alleged indiscipline and contradicting official party positions. NRM pressurized the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga to expel the legislators in vain. As a result, NRM petitioned the Constitutional Court to expel the legislators. In a majority ruling, Justices of the constitutional court including Richard Kavuma, Faith Mwondha and Steven Kavuma ruled that the MPs were in Parliament illegally. However, Justice Remmy Kasule made a minority ruling in favor of the MPs.
This prompted the MPs to petition the Supreme Court challenging the orders of the Constitutional Court. On Tuesday, the MPs legal team said the constitutional court erred by erred in considering the affidavit submitted by President Yoweri Museveni. Caleb Alaka, who spoke on behalf of the legal team representing the legislators, argued that as a sitting president, Museveni is not liable to respond to any court proceedings. He said that the acknowledgement of the affidavit sworn by Museveni removes his constitutional privilege of exemption from court proceedings and exposes to criminal and civil prosecution while still serving as a president.
Alaka argued that there are other people in the NRM party who could have presented the evidence to court other than the president. He also told the Court that Justices of the constitutional court erred when they asked them to submit questions for cross examining the president before submitting his evidence saying this has never occurred in any court. Alaka argued that court couldn’t establish the character of Museveni as a witness, which denied the MPs a fair hearing contrary to the Civil Procedure Act. He therefore asked the Justices of the Supreme Court to disregard the evidence of the President.
Alaka also faulted the Constitutional Court for failing to address whether the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant in accordance with the interpretation of the Attorney General or a High Court ruling. He said the advice of the former attorney general Peter Nyombi to the speaker to expel the MP was uncalled for since the matter wasn’t under his jurisdiction. But in defense Joseph Matsiko, the counsel for the ruling NRM party said the absence of the MPs in the party creates a gap and weakens its bargaining power.
He also told court that Mohammed Nsereko, the Kampala Central MP didn’t challenge the decision of the disciplinary committee, which means he was satisfied with the decision made. He therefore asked court to maintain the expulsion. The Supreme Court will rule on the matter on a date yet to be set. The supreme Court Judges hearing the petition include Jotham Tumwesige, Ester Kisakye, Stella Arach Amoko, Benjamin Odoki, John Wilson Tsekoko, Galdine Okello and Christine Kitumba.