James Akena, the leader of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) faction and Member of Parliament for Lira municipality, has redirected his party’s focus towards upcoming elections, placing less emphasis on a recent court setback.
Akena clarified, “These headlines saying the Supreme Court has thrown out Jimmy Akena are completely off-key. I don’t know where people are getting this wrong information.” He urged UPC members to continue their efforts in mobilizing for forthcoming elections while intensifying preparations for the 2026 General Election.
Despite acknowledging the overdue court ruling, Akena stressed that it does not impact his current position or his plans for the upcoming UPC elections and the 2026 general elections.
The Supreme Court rejected an application that aimed to maintain the Court of Appeal’s orders that invalidated Akena’s elections.
In a unanimous decision, Supreme Court Justices, including Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, Faith Mwondha, Lilian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, Percy Tuhaise, and Mike Chibita, ruled that the Akena faction did not possess the right to appeal an interlocutory decision of the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court without first seeking permission from the same court.
The Akena faction argued that the Court of Appeal’s decision to freeze the party’s bank accounts had an immediate impact on the party’s operations in preparation for the 2016 general election.
However, John Kakonge raised an objection, asserting that Akena and his group had no right to appeal in the Supreme Court without obtaining leave from the Court of Appeal. The Justices upheld this objection, asserting that appeals against interlocutory orders are not allowed unless sanctioned by the Court of Appeal.
They argued that permitting such appeals could burden the court system and cause delays in the consideration of substantive appeals.
The judgment read, “It is clear from the provisions of the law that there is no right of appeal to the Supreme Court from interlocutory orders that are incidental to the appeal and do not result from the final determination of the appeal itself.”
In 2015, Joseph Bbosa, Prof. Kakonge, and Otto Amiza initiated a Judicial Review application in the High Court against UPC and its Electoral Commission, challenging the election of Akena as the Party’s President-elect, citing illegality and malpractices.
High Court Judge Yasin Nyanzi ruled in favor of the Bbosa group, declaring Akena’s election void and illegal for violating the UPC Constitution. Subsequently, the Akena group appealed to the Court of Appeal.
The Court granted a stay of execution of the High Court orders but also issued an order preventing the Akena group from managing the party’s bank accounts until the matter was resolved.
The Akena group opposed this and sought to challenge it in the Supreme Court before obtaining leave from the Court of Appeal.
The Appeal was eventually heard in the Court of Appeal, which, like the High Court, ruled that Akena was illegally elected UPC president. However, despite these rulings, Akena has retained his position as the UPC president.