The government has taken legal action to challenge a recent decision by the Constitutional Court regarding the return of Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake as a commissioner of Parliament. The Attorney General, who serves as the government’s chief legal adviser, expressed dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the court’s ruling and intends to seek a final resolution from the Supreme Court, the highest court in Uganda.
On October 5, the Attorney General filed a notice of appeal, stating, “Take notice that the Attorney General being dissatisfied with parts of the majority judgment and orders of the Constitutional Court…intends to appeal to the Supreme Court of Uganda.” The ruling in question was delivered on September 28, 2023, by Hon Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, Eva K Luswata, and Oscar John Kihika.
MP Francis Zaake’s commissioner position faced controversy earlier in the year when fellow MPs impeached him, citing alleged insults directed at then Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, on social media. However, the Constitutional Court’s justices, in a majority decision of 4:1, invalidated Zaake’s impeachment. Their reasoning was based on the absence of the required one-third quorum of all MPs in the House during the resolution to remove him from his position as commissioner.
The justices noted that only 161 MPs were present in the House during the impeachment resolution, falling short of the required 264 members. They further found that Deputy Speaker Among had a conflict of interest when she continued to preside over parliamentary proceedings that led to the removal of MP Zaake from office. Justice Irene Mulyagonja, who authored the lead judgment, held that Among’s actions contravened various articles of the Constitution and rendered the proceedings null and void.
In the appeal notice, the Attorney General disputed the court’s ruling that the quorum was insufficient and that Parliament disregarded procedural rules during the debate. Additionally, the Attorney General challenged the finding that Deputy Speaker Among acted as a judge in her own cause during the impeachment proceedings.
Notably, the filing of this appeal coincides with a request made by Mr. Zaake’s legal representatives from Lukwago and Co Advocates to the Clerk of Parliament, demanding his reinstatement to his position following the court’s ruling. The legal battle surrounding MP Zaake’s commissioner role continues to develop, with the Supreme Court poised to provide a final resolution on the matter.