Supreme Court to Decide on MAK Law Dons, CSO Applications to Join Election Petition

1913 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
In their application filed by Prof Christopher Mbazira and Dr. Busingye Kabumba, the lecturers, said they want to join the petition to offer their expertise to the court to arrive at a just ruling. They also noted that while ruling on the 2001 and 2006 election petitions, the Supreme Court made several recommendations to ensure a level playing ground to ensure free and fair polls, but nothing has been done almost ten years down the road.

The Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has set March 12 to hear applications of people seeking to join the hearing of the presidential election petition.
 
Justice Katureebe notified court this afternoon that they had been served with two applications from people who wish to join in the petition hearing, saying they will be considered accordingly.


 
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On Wednesday, the nine law lecturers from Makerere University applied to join the petition hearing as "friends of court". They are Prof Joe Oloka-Onyango, Prof Sylvia Tamale, Prof Christopher Mbazira, Dr Ronald Naluwairo, Dr Rose Nakayi, Dr Busingye Kabumba, Daniel Ruhweza, Dr Kakungulu Mayambala and Daniel Ngabirano.
 
 
In their application filed by Prof Christopher Mbazira and Dr. Busingye Kabumba, the lecturers, said they want to join the petition to offer their expertise to the court to arrive at a just ruling. 



They also noted that while ruling on the 2001 and 2006 election petitions, the Supreme Court made several recommendations to ensure a level playing ground to ensure free and fair polls, but nothing has been done almost ten years down the road.
 
 
They also state that retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki demanded during his ruling on the 2001 petition that in subsequent presidential elections, there has to be a level ground to ensure that the incumbent does not enjoy an unfair advantage over the other candidates.
 

They note that this recommendation has been under looked as the incumbent as the incumbent uses state machinery in his campaigns, which gives him an unfair advantage over the other constants. In a similar, development, eight civil society organizations-CSOs have also applied to the Supreme Court to join the election petition hearing as friends of court.
 

 
They include Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, The Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Chapter Four Uganda, Human Rights Network Uganda, Center for Constitutional Governance, Kituo Cha Katiba Eastern African, Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda and Transparency Uganda.
 
 
 
In their application, the CSOs say they have interest in the petition, which raises important questions of public interest of whether the general elections were conducted in a manner representative of the will of the people. The applicants have promised to adduce independent findings to potentially enhance the court's assessment of whether the 2016 presidential elections were conducted in compliance with the law.



 
The applicants contend that they are nonpartisan but only have a strong and genuine commitment to promoting constitutionalism, respect for and observance of human rights and electoral democracy and that they will offer a unique contribution for the resolution of the issues now before court.
 
 
They justify the unique contribution that they intend to offer to court since most of them were accredited election observers under the framework of Citizens Election Observers Network (CEON) and Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy (CCEDU) that observed the February 18 presidential elections.