House grants Special Leave for use of its Records at EACj as it Adjourns
East African Legislative Assembly, Kampala, Uganda: February 9th 2018:
The House yesterday granted one of its Commissioners, Hon Mukasa Mbidde and other interested Members special leave to appear as interested parties in a reference (No 2 of 2018) on the matter of election of EALA Speaker filed at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) by the Republic of Burundi. Consequently, the House further granted Hon Mbidde leave to use of its records for the purposes of the suit.
The Resolution moved by Hon Mbidde himself, follows the recent application at the East African Court of Justice by the Republic of Burundi in which the applicant, the Attorney General, sues the Secretary General of the EAC on the election of the Speaker. The Member is seeking to be enjoined as an interested party in the case.
The Member told the House the matters raised in the reference touched on the sanctity of the Assembly within its jurisdiction and therefore should be well represented in the Court. He remarked that absence of the same may lead to misrepresentation of the facts of the suit or the Assembly in the matter. In the regard, the mover of the Motion had sought the House to grant access to a number of documents intended for use in line with Article 23 of the Rules of Procedure which stipulates how the records and journals of the House are kept.
According to Rule 42 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, the Speaker, Rt Hon Ngoga K. Martin granted a minimum guided debate to avoid sub judice.Prior to debate, the Council of Ministers interjected requesting for the question to be put for a vote without debate, a move that was outvoted.
Hon Abdikadir Aden said it was necessary in line with the principle of natural justice for the Assembly to have legal representation.
“I commend Hon Mbidde for the gesture. Even though we have the Counsel to the Community in the House (as an ex-officio Member) let us also have legal representation in the reference”, he said.
Hon Denis Namara said there was need for instituting a safety net and therefore, vital for Hon Mbidde to be enjoined and to utilize the records of the House.
Hon Susan Nakawuki said the matter involved the entire Assembly who had been dragged to Court. “It is important that we defend ourselves as a team and defend our position, sovereignty and sanctity”, she said.
Hon Fancy Nkuhi reminded the August House that the Members of the House need to come together and to resolve any issues if at all while Hon Rose Akol Okullu termed the need to seek legal representation as vital. Hon Paul Musamali also supported the motion saying the issue touched on the very existence of the Assembly. Hon Kennedy Kalonzo Musyoka and Hon Gideon Gatpan further supported the motion calling for self-representation by the Assembly. Hon Gabriel Alaak Garang said the Attorney General in filing the suit was testing the resolve of the Assembly.
Hon Victor Burikukiye remarked that it was a democratic right for the Republic of Burundi to head to Court. “I believe the law allows any aggrieved party to bring a matter to Court. Let us not take the case as an attack to the August House but an avenue to protect the Treaty governing the Community”, he said, reiterating that Burundi needs clarification on the matter and that the EACJ would be able to adequately handle the matter.
In her contribution, Hon Mary Mugyenyi cited tranquility of the Community as important and reiterated the Assembly was keen to see the same by all means. “If it means we support the Motion, then let us do so”, she remarked.
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About the East African Legislative Assembly:
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is the Legislative Organ of the Community and has a cardinal function to further EAC objectives, through its Legislative, Representative and Oversight mandate. It was established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.