By Sania Babirye
The ruling party NRM has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss with costs a petition filed by 11 of its Members of Parliament who are opposing a resolution by CEC to front their party chairman President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as a sole candidate for the 2021 presidential elections and beyond saying it has no grounds for any constitutional interpretation .
The NRM MPs who are challenging President Museveni’s sole candidature include :Theodrehe Sekikuubo, Monicah Amonding , Barnarbs Tinkansiimire , Jonh Baptist Nambeshe , Patrick Nsamba , Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, Samwuel Lyomoki, Akello Sylvia, Susan Amero, James Acidri and Moses Adome
However, in an affidavit filed by Oscar Kihika who is the party’s director of legal service, the NRM party alleges that the said petition does not raise any issue that can be interpreted constitutionally
Through their legal team represented bu K&K advocates, the NRM party further claims that the resolution bu CEC to recommend President Museveni as a sole candidate is not a constitutional or matter of judicial interpretation that can be decided by any court but its a political matter.
The NRM party also insists that they did not stop any member from expressing their interests in holding the party flag for the presidential position despite CEC’s resolution since its not the final stage of a national election .
The NRM party further claims that it’s the duty of the National delegates conference -(which is the party’s supreme organ) to elect a presidential candidate to be sponsored by NRM from a list of members forwarded by the National Executive council .
The party has also described the ground of the said Mps wanting court to declare the said resolution null and void on grounds that they were prevented from attending the said meeting submitting that their abscess does not invalidate the sole presidential candidature resolution nor is it a matter of Constitutional interpretation.
These now want the constitutional court to dismiss the said petition because it’s baseless, an abuse of court process as it specifies no particular act committed by its CEC that infringed on the Constitutional right of any MP.
They add that the said petition is a disguised move to challenge their party’s alleged non-compliance of political parties and organizations Act; yet such grievance can be addressed through other remedies other than through courts of laws.
The constitutional court has now set the 13th of this month to hold a conferencing meeting and also issues criminal summons to both parties so that they can decide and agree on the issues that must be tried before a date is set for hearing of the case.
On the 30th of April this year, the said MPs dragged their party to the Constitutional challenging a resolution by the party’s central Executive commitee that endorsed the sole candidature of their party President Museveni for the 2021 presidential elections.
The aggrieved rebel MPs want the constitutional court to declare the resolution null and void.
These filed their petition through three law firms of Caleb Alaka, Wilfred Nuwagaba and Baririre Muhangi and company advocates.
On the 19th of February this year, CEC declared President Museveni who has been the party chairman for the past 35 years as their sole presidential candidate at chobe safari lodge in Nyoya district .
However, according to the MPs the resolution that took four days blocked and suffocated the interests of other would be individuals in the party who have aspirations to become presidential candidates in the coming General elections.
Worker’s MP Sam Lyomoki says he has aspirations of contesting for the seat of the President and that President Museveni’s sole candidature was done in total disregard of his aspirations.
He further says that his party was aware of his presidential intentions since he officially communicated to the Secretary General of the party on the 19th of January 2019.
The MPs further claim that CEC had no mandate to declare president Museveni as a presidential candidate for the 2021 elections in the middle of this term (2016-2020) because it’s (CEC) 5 year tenure of office is due to expire in July 2020 and therefore have no business in the next coming elections .
The MPs claim that instead grass root elections within the party had to be conducted from which CEC would recommend the successful candidates to the National delegates conference
The MPs further want court to intervene in the internal governance of their party which they contend is not Democratic at all because their party’s Secretary General Kasule Lumumba unfairly blocked them from participating in the parliamentary caucus retreat at Kyankwazi where the sole candidature resolution was adopted .
They then asked the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional all the CEC resolutions including baring them from attending the said retreat and pay them costs for this petition.
This is the second time the NRM party is dragged to court over declaring president M7 as a sole presidential Candidate for his party.
In 2017, party supporter Benjamin Alipanga also dragged his party to the constitutional court over President Museveni’s sole candidature, however, his case was later overtaken by events forcing him to withdraw it.