The Constitutional Court has dismissed with costs a petition seeking to remove Vice President Edward Ssekandi from Parliament.
Five judges of the court have unanimously ruled that the petition filed by former parliamentary candidate Jude Mbabaali did not need constitutional court interpretation so as to be filed before the same court.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru wrote the lead judgement which the four other judges—Eldad Mwangusya, Solomy Bbosa Balungi, Rubby Aweri and Remmy Kasule—concurred with.
Former Parliamentary contestant Jude Mbabaali petitioned court seeking to have Ssekandi kicked out of parliament for having allegedly used government cars and other resources to win the Bukoto Central seat in the 2011 general elections.
But the judges ruled that the complaints about VP Ssekandi using government resources for campaigns should have been addressed by the Masaka High Court in the election petition but the petitioners chose to withdraw the case prematurely.
When the petition came up for hearing on June 13 this year, Mbabaali through his lawyers argued that Ssekandi while he was still the Speaker of Parliament, diverted five cars attached to his office, fuel worth 120 million shillings and police to facilitate his parliamentary election campaigns.
He argued that this gave him an undue advantage over other candidates in the race.
Mbabaali further argued that the Vice President breached the Leadership Code of Conduct and the parliamentary and election rules for which he should be penalised by being kicked out.
But in his defense, Ssekandi through his lawyer, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, argued that Mbabaali failed to prove that he used government facilities attached to his office for his personal campaigns and that the petition should be dismissed with costs to him.
Kiwanuka further argued that Mbabaali filed the petition before a wrong court on grounds that the cited allegations against the VP did not warrant a constitutional interpretation as they are election related; which should have been filed before the High Court and not the Constitutional Court as it’s the case.
The February 18, 2011 elections saw NRM’s Ssekandi winning with 10,068 votes, while Mbabaali, a member of the Democratic Party came second with 9,731 votes.