Activists want 22 MP seats quashed

Court -->
Activists want 22 MP seats quashed
The petitioners led by their lawyer Tegulle (centre). Photo - Muhamadi Matovu

KAMPALA - A group of civil society members has filed a petition in the Constitutional Court challenging the legitimacy of 10 Women Members of Parliament representing the new cities.

If successful, the MPs could lose their seats as the petitioners are seeking a declaration from the court that their positions are unconstitutional.

The petition was filed by the Alliance for Finance Monitoring, along with the Walezi wa Katiba Foundation and lawyer Magelah Peter Gwayaka.

The petitioners argue that the presence of these 22 MPs places a heavy financial burden on taxpayers. They contend that municipalities, being administrative units under local governments, should not have representation in the August House.

Through their lawyer, Gawaya Tegulle, the petitioners argue that Article 78 of the Constitution provides for seats of District Women Representatives, not City Women MPs as a special group.

They seek the nullification of the City Woman Representatives' and Members of Parliament representing Municipalities' seats, asserting that these seats violate the constitution.

According to the petitioners, the creation of City Woman MP seats and MPs for Municipalities and other constituencies is unconstitutional, as it goes against various provisions of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

In a sworn statement, Henry Muguzi, the executive director of the Alliance for Finance Monitoring, states that the Ugandan constitution specifically refers to one woman representative per district, not per city.

He argues that conducting elections for city women representatives without amending the Parliamentary Elections Act to include a woman representative for a city is null and void, as it contravenes the Constitution.

The petitioners argue that the creation of municipalities for representation in Parliament is inconsistent with the Constitution.

They assert that municipalities are local administrative units created for local government administration and service delivery, not for representation in Parliament.

Furthermore, the petitioners question the legality of creating Municipalities without following the constitutional guidelines laid down in Article 63. They argue that any constituency created outside the scope of this article is deemed unconstitutional and void.

'Unlawful occupation'

The petitioners are urging the Constitutional Court to intervene and address the issues related to the unlawful occupation of Parliament by City Woman Representatives and MPs representing Municipalities.

If successful, this petition could have significant implications for the composition of Parliament and the electoral system in the country as it raises questions about the interpretation of constitutional provisions regarding parliamentary representation and constituency demarcation.

"The petitioners are further aggrieved by the fact that Municipalities, which are local government administrative units, are constituencies with seats in the national Parliament," Tegulle told the media outside the court on Wednesday.

The petitioners are seeking an order for the City Woman Representatives to vacate their offices immediately, as the seat is non-existent. They also seek an order for the Members of Parliament representing municipalities to vacate their seats.

 Additionally, they request an order for the Members of Parliament representing the 20 new constituencies created out of the cities in 2020 to vacate their seats, as they also violate the Constitution.

The petitioners also ask for an order prohibiting the Electoral Commission from conducting elections for City Woman Representatives, as this is not provided for in the law.

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