The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application 11 ‘rebel MPs’ filed challenging an NRM party decision to endorse President Museveni as a sole presidential for the 2021 election.
In February 2019, the Central Executive Committee (Cec) of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ring fenced the party flag bearer privilege for Museveni.
The decision meant that Museveni, in power since 1986, was unopposed and the party would not hold an internal election to choose a flag bearer.
But the 11 rebel MPs challenged the Cec decision in court saying it flouted constitutional provisions.
The MPs were Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga West), John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), and Patrick Oshabe Nsamba (Kassanda North).
Others were Mbwatatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya County), Samuel Lyomoki (Workers MP), Silvia Akello, (Otuke district), Susan Amero (Amuria Woman MP), James Acidri (Maracha East County) and Bildad Moses Adome (Jie County).
Alaka and Company Advocates, Niwagaba Advocates and Solicitors, and Barirere, Muhangi and Company Advocates represented them in court.
They also challenged chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa’s decision to block them from attending the party’s meetings.
But in their ruling that Constitutional Court registrar Mary Babirye read out, four of the five judges dismissed the petition.
They were acting chief justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Cheborion Barishaki, Kenneth Kakuru and Christopher Izama Madrama.
“The petitioners have not challenged any provision of the Constitution of the respondent (NRM) which was registered according to the law and which is deemed to comply with the law under the Political Parties and Organisation Act as envisaged in article 71, 72, and 73 of the Constitution of Uganda,” the majority judges ruled.
They also reasoned that the MPs filed the case in a wrong court.
“In the premises therefore, I would strike out the petition for want of the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, ” Justice Madrama declared.
“In the circumstances where the petitioners are happy with the party constitution of the respondent but are at the same time trying to challenge the respondent’s actions as being in contravention of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the action is frivolous and vexatious.”
But Justice Egonda Ntende disagreed with his colleagues, saying the Cec resolution violated the petitioners’ right to participate in their political party’s polls.
This was also against democratic principles and national objectives, he added.
Uganda is gearing up for the 2021 general elections after the Electoral Commission released a revised road map.