The Constitutional Court will tomorrow begin hearing a petition challenging the representation of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Parliament, eight years after the case was first filed.
It is alleged that having UPDF representatives in the August house is incompatible with the multi-party dispensation according to a constitutional amendment re-introduced in 2005.
Since President Museveni took power in 1986, Uganda was governed under the Movement system.
Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo will lead tomorrow’s Coram of five judges to hear the petition filed by Mr Ellady Muyambi, a human rights activist.
Other Justices include Kenneth Kakuru, Frederick Egonda-Ntende, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi.
In the petition filed in 2011, Mr Muyambi is challenging the constitutionality of Article 78(1) and (2) of the Constitution that allows army MPs and the constitutionality of Section 8 (2)(a) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, which provides for 10 army MPs.
Through his lawyers, Mr Muyambi alleges that the presence of army MPs in the August house contravenes Article 80(4) of the Constitution which bars public officers and persons employed in any government department, including the army, from standing and being elected MP in a multi-party political system.
What law says
“Article 80 (2) of the Constitution provides that the army shall be non-partisan and national in character, among other things, and, therefore, army representation in Parliament makes the army partisan and not national in character,” Mr Muyambi states.
He alleges that the functions of the army do not include representation in Parliament and, as such, their representation in Parliament is outside their roles under Article 209.
However, the Attorney General contends that the petition discloses no question for Constitutional interpretation and that it lacks merit.
Ms Sheila Ampeire, a government lawyer, argues that the petition is unjustifiable and that representation of the army in Parliament is mandated by the Constitution.