Court Asked to Invalidate Parliamentary Seats in Cities and Municipalities

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Two Civil Society Organizations and lawyer Peter Gwayaka Magelah have filed a petition at the Constitutional Court seeking to invalidate 22 parliamentary seats, some situated in newly established cities and municipalities. The petitioners are the Alliance for Finance Monitoring and the Walezi wa Katiba Foundation.

They argue that Section 8(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, which created the parliamentary seat of City Woman Representative, is not constitutionally provided for. They further contend that the presence of City Women representatives in Parliament, categorized under special interest group representation, is unconstitutional.

The affected areas include new cities such as Arua, Mbale, Mbarara, Soroti, Fort Portal, Jinja, Gulu, and Hoima, along with municipalities like Nansana, Kira, Makindye-Ssabagabo, Kisoro, Mityana, Njeru, Kitgum, Ibanda, Koboko, Mubende, Kumi, and Lugazi.

The petitioners argue that the creation of parliamentary seats for Members of Parliament representing municipalities, which are local governments not envisaged as part of Parliament’s composition, is illegal. They assert that these seats only impose a burden on taxpayers since municipalities are administrative units under local governments and should not have representation in Parliament.

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Moreover, they argue that the creation of these constituencies by Parliament and the Electoral Commission in 2020, more than 12 months after the publication of the national population census in 2016, contradicts Article 63(3)(5)(7) of the Constitution.

In supporting affidavits, Magelah emphasizes that the Electoral Commission should demarcate constituencies based on population quota within 12 months after the publication of census results conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Failure to adhere to these guidelines renders the creation of municipalities unconstitutional.

The petitioners seek an order for City Woman Representatives, City MPs, and municipality MPs to vacate their offices immediately, as these seats are legally non-existent. They also request an order prohibiting the Electoral Commission from conducting elections for these positions.

The case, filed in the higher public interest, awaits responses from the Attorney General and the Electoral Commission before being scheduled for hearing.

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