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Day May 3, 2013

STATEMENT BY SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT May 2, 2013


Honourable members, you have heard about the much publicized letter from the Secretary General of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party informing the Speaker that the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the NRM Party had received a report and recommendations­ of its internal Disciplinary Committee and that four members of the party who are also members of Parliament, namely

1.Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo, member of parliament for Lwemiyaga Country;
2.Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba, member of Parliament for Ndorwa East Constituency;
3.Hon. Mohammed Nsereko, member of Parliament for Kampala Central Constituency;
and
4.Hon. Banarbas Tinkasimire, member of Parliament for Buywaga West Constituency .had been expelled from NRM.

The letter also requested the Speaker to invoke her powers to direct the Clerk to Parliament to declare the seats of the said members of Parliament vacant so as to enable the Electoral Commission to organize bye-elections in their respective constituencies.

Honourable members, you will appreciate that since we embraced the multiparty systems of Government this will be the first time that a political organization or party has expelled its members who are at the same time elected Members of Parliament and formally requested the Speaker to direct the Clerk to declare their seats vacant.

Article 83 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides as follows

83. Tenure of office of members of Parliament.
(1) A member of Parliament shall vacate his or her seat in Parliament

(a) if he or she resigns his or her office in writing signed by him or her and addressed to the Speaker;

(b) if such circumstances arise that if that person were not a member of Parliament would cause that person to be disqualified for election as a member of Parliament under article 80 of this Constitution;

(c) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, upon dissolution of Parliament;

(d) if that person is absent from fifteen sittings of Parliament without permission in writing of the Speaker during any period when Parliament is continuously meeting and is unable to offer satisfactory explanation to the relevant parliamentary committee for his or her absence;

(e) if that person is found guilty by the appropriate tribunal of violation of the Leadership Code of Conduct and the punishment imposed is or includes the vacation of the office of a member of Parliament;

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NRM RESPONSE TO THE RULING OF THE RT. HON SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT TO RETAIN IN PARLIMANT THE FOUR (4) MPS WHO CEASED TO BE MEMBERS OF NRM


Following the Rt. Hon. Speaker’s Ruling made on 2nd May 2013, in response to the NRM Secretary General’s notification to her of the party’s decision taken on the four Members of Parliament as a result of their conduct, namely, Hon. Tinkasimire Barnabas, Hon Theodore Ssekikubo, Hon. Mohammed Nsereko and Hon Wilfred Niwagaba, Members of Parliament for Buyaga West, Lwemiyaga County, Ndorwa West and Kampala Central respectively; asking her to notify the Clerk to Parliament, that their positions had fallen vacant, and her subsequent refusal to honor the request, the NRM responds to her ruling as follows;

The NRM takes exception to the Rt. Hon. Speaker’s ruling to retain in Parliament the four MPs who ceased to be its members, and on whose ticket they were elected to Parliament.

1) The Rt. Hon Speaker’s decision was selective, convenient and ignored to read and apply the provisions of the Constitution holistically and fell short of taking cognizance of Article 1 (2) which empowers the people of Uganda to choose how they shall be governed.

2) The people of Uganda, during the 2005 Referendum adopted the Multi Party system of governance as the political framework under which Parliament operates.

3) Art. 78 of the Constitution supported by the Parliamentary Elections Act, the Administration of Parliament’s Act and the Rules of Procedure of Parliament of Uganda, provide for the sitting arrangement in Parliament based on parties, independents and special interest groups. So the decision of the speaker to retain in Parliament the four MPs, creates another group in Parliament that is legally strange.

4) In taking her decision, the Rt. Hon. Speaker should have taken consideration of the entire constitutional provisions so as to give Article 83 (1) (g) of the Constitution its rightful meaning. Having failed to do so, she limited the operation and development of parties in the Multi Party system dispensation, which the people of Uganda adopted in 2005.

5) The affected MPs having ceased to be Members of NRM, ipso facto, and as such ceased to be Members of Parliament. This is so because, there are four sides of representation in Parliament; namely, Government (NRM), the opposition, independents and for UPDF.

6) By purporting to create special accommodation for the (4) four Members of Parliament, in front of the Speaker’s desk, she effectively recognizes the fact that they ceased to belong and represent NRM in Parliament which defeats her earlier interpretation of Article 83 (1)(g) of the Constitution.

7) We contend that, it was an error of judgment for the Speaker to have purported to create another category of representation in Parliament outside those provided for in the law and this will be vigorously challenged.

8) It is also worth noting that the Speaker is the 2nd National Vice Chairperson of the NRM, member of Central Executive Committee (CEC), and having attended and actively participated in the unanimous decision regarding the status of the four named MPs in the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of NRM, it would have been prudent to disqualify herself from presiding over the same subject matter in Parliament.

9) The Speaker’s decision notwithstanding, the NRM takes the firm position that the membership of the four MPs in its ranks ceased, and their continued stay in Parliament does not only offend the clear provisions of the Constitution but also undermines the will of the People who exercised their power to decide on how to be governed.

10)The ruling of the Speaker is not only an issue of NRM as a political organization but sets a serious and dangerous precedent that undermines the spirit of Pluralism. Consequently, the NRM disagrees with her ruling, and has taken a firm decision to refer the matter to the Courts of law for adjudication.

Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda
Chairman NRM Electoral Commission*********************

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