The four Members of Parliament who were expelled from their party, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) will stay in parliament even though their party parted ways with them.
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday delivered the eagerly awaited verdict ruling that MPs; Theodore Sekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Mohammed Nsereko (Kampala Central), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) and Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga) should not vacate their parliamentary seats.
Kadaga says she got a letter from the NRM Central Executive Committee asking her to invoke her powers to direct the Clerk of Parliament to declare the seats vacant after the MPs were expelled from the ruling party last month. The move was to enable the Electoral Commission to organise fresh elections.
“There’s no legal and constitutional basis for them to be expelled from Parliament.” Speaker Kadaga said while delivering her ruling basing it on article 83.
Article 83 of the constitution outlines circumstances under which a lawmaker is likely to lose his or her seat in parliament.
The speaker also noted that since Uganda started operating under a multi-party system this is the first time that a political party or organization has expelled its members, who are at the same time elected Members of Parliament, and formally directed the Speaker to declare their seats vacant.
The legislators were fired from the NRM after the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) decided to adopt the disciplinary committee’s resolution that the outspoken lawmakers be shown the exit.
In addition to basing her decision on the constitution, Kadaga also quoted the case Uganda People’s Defence Forces(UPDF) representative in parliament Brigadier Henry Tumukunde.
The Speaker says on the 7th of July 2005 the then Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya proposed that in the interest of peace so as not to cause controversy that clause 26 of the constitution be deleted.
The constitutional amendment Bill was then passed without the provision requiring MPs who leave their parties to lose their seats. Today Kadaga says the decision on the matter has a potential of having serious constitutional ramifications.
In response the government chief whip Justine Lumumba asked the Speaker where the MPs would sit now that they are no longer NRM MPs since she is uncomfortable with them sitting on the NRM side.
Kadaga responded that the MPs would sit in front of her which move was effected immediately.