There was drama in the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning at the court convened to hear an appeal challenging the constitutional order ejecting six legislators from the newly created municipalities after one of the MPs distanced himself from a lawyer they jointly hired to file the appeal.
MPs Patrick Ocan (Apac Municipality), Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema Municipality), Tarsis Rwaburindore Bishanga (Ibanda Municipality), Hashim Sulaiman (Nebbi Municipality), Abrahams Lokii (Kotido Municipality) and Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality) were ordered by the Constitutional Court to vacate their parliamentary seats on grounds that they were elected to represent non-existent constituencies.
The ruling followed a successful application by the former Bufumbiro East MP Eddie Kwizera who argued that the mid-term election of MPs for constituencies that were created after the 2016 general elections contravened the law.
However, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General appealed the constitutional court decision in the Supreme Court.
The MPs also filed a separate appeal through their lawyers led by Ntabwireki Kandeebe, saying they were denied a fair hearing since they weren’t party to the Constitutional court proceedings.
However, one of the MPs, Hashim Sulaim, acting through Kob Advocates and Solicitors, wrote to the Supreme Court informing it that he has never given instructions to Kandeebe’s law firm, Ntambirweki Kandeebe and company Advocates to represent him.
“Our client’s interests are ably being represented by the legal team from the Electoral Commission and Attorney General Chambers for, which he is content. He, therefore, doesn’t need to file any cross-appeal in the matter,” partly reads the October 13 letter to the Supreme Court.
“This letter serves to inform you that M/S Ntambirweki Kandeebe and Company Advocates doesn’t have instructions from the sixth cross Appellant and should hold out to represent him in this matter.”
Kandeebe learned of the development at the justices of the Supreme Court sought to establish the truth from Kandeebe because neither the legislator nor lawyers from Kob Advocates and Solicitors who drafted the letter in question were present in court.
Kandeebe told a panel of seven Supreme Court Justices led by Dr. Esther Kisaakye that he was embarrassed to hear that the Nebbi Municipality MP had disowned him. The other justices are Stella Arach Amoko, Justice Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Night Tuhaise and Mike Chibita.
Kandeebe said that he also has no idea about the letter, adding that he had called the chairperson of the affected legislators who also promised to find out but hadn’t got back to him and asked the justices to decide on the matter.
Earlier, on the Justices asked all the parties if they had put in their written submissions on the consolidated appeal, which they confirmed in the affirmative. The judges informed the parties that they will deliver their Judgment on notice.
The Principal State Attorney, Wanyama Kodoli represented the Attorney General, Enock Kugonza represented the Electoral Commission while Wandera Ogalo represented Kwizera.