The Electoral Commission has told the Supreme Court that President Museveni’s swearing in hangs in balance if recent orders by the Constitutional Court that a serving judge should resign before taking up any appointment for a new job by the executive .
In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Kenneth Kakuru, on behalf of a panel of other justices including Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota and Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, the Constitutional Court ruled that it is illegal for judicial officers to be appointed to any office without first resigning as judges since it would be a contravention of the very constitution they took oath to uphold while requiring others to uphold .
The judgment, therefore, ordered that the Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, DPP Justice Jane Frances Abodo and the Judicial Service Commission chairperson, Justice Benjamin Kabiito vacate office since they are there illegally.
Government, however, appealed against the judgment before the Supreme Court and has also filed an interim order seeking the stay of implementation of the said orders of the Constitutional court.
On Wednesday, Christine Kaahwa, the acting director of Civil Litigation in the office of the Attorney told court that implementation of the orders would have a big impact on the forthcoming swearing in ceremony for the president, MPs and Local Council leaders.
“The Electoral Commission cannot be constituted unless the chairperson, deputy chairperson, and other five members are fully appointed and are in office. The Electoral Commission has just concluded the general presidential, parliamentary and local government elections and is yet to present to the country the validly elected leadership at the respective local government council to be sworn in for the next term of office,”Kaahwa told the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning, quoting an affidavit by Stephen Tashobya, a commissioner with EC.
“The foregoing requires a fully constituted commission (EC) to present to the swearing authority a validly elected candidate.”
The Attorney General’s lawyers told the Supreme Court that implementation of the said orders of the Constitutional Court would also cripple the work of the Judicial Service Commission and the office of the DPP yet they are very crucial in the implementation of justice in the country.
“The DPP’s office is unable to perform its functions hence creating a legal lacuna. This has affected the effective administration of the criminal justice system,”Kaahwa said.
Earlier, government was allowed to proceed with the application ex parte after the Supreme Court was told that respondent in the case, lawyer Bob Kasango had passed on.
The panel of five Justices of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Stella Arach-Amoko, Rubby Aweri Opio, Paul Mugamba, and Ezekiel Muhanguzi have adjourned the matter up to 11:30am to be able to deliver a ruling in the matter.