The Constitutional Court in Kampala is set to start the hearing of 43 petitions seeking different orders against the Attorney General who is listed as a respondent in each of these cases.
According to the cause list signed by the Constitutional Court Assistant Registrar, Henry Twinomuhwezi, hearing of these petitions dating way back in 2017 will commence tomorrow, June 6 before two panels of justices of the court.
One of the Panels will be comprised of the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, as the head, with Justices; Stephen Musota, Irene Mulyagonja, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi and Monica Mugenyi whereas the second panel which will also comprise of the same justices will also bring on board Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire in place of the Deputy Chief Justice.
Some of the petitions fixed for hearing include one where Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake is challenging the decision by the Parliament to remove him from the position of Commissioner of Parliament on allegations of using his social media platform to insult the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among.
Zaake was in March, 2022 impeached following a successful motion to censure him that was tabled by Bardege-Layibi Division MP, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi accusing him of gross misconduct and breach of Parliament decorum because of the insults in question.
He consequently ran to the Constitutional Court challenging the decision to impeach him and the court will now hear arguments from both sides.
The same Court will also hear a petition in which retired Supreme Court Justice Professor George W. Kanyeihamba and five others are challenging the proposed bail reforms.
President Museveni recently proposed that there should be reforms in giving bail, stressing that bail should be denied to those on capital offences like murder.
“We must agree on the bailable offences. The judiciary also has some problems. There are some wrong elements in the judiciary. The Constitution says bail may be given. Someone kills another and you give them bail, really! Don’t provoke people into mob justice,” Museveni in February.
However, in their petition, Kanyeihhamba and his group argue that the proposed reforms are a threat to the right to personal liberty and presumption of innocence.
The court will be hearing a petition in which jailed lawyer Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka wants the it to quash the criminal proceedings instituted against Kawempe North Member of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya and his Makindye West counterpart Allan Ssewanyana.
Mabirizi wants the duo set free on the basis that the charges against them including terrorism, murder , aiding and abetting terrorism amount to political persecution because they ought to have been merged in one file which is not the case at the moment.
Notably also is a petition challenging the Computer Misuse Act, another filed by the retired Principal Judge Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine challenging part of the newly enacted Administration of the Judiciary Act and petition by CEHURD seeking to compel the government to formulate and pass a law regulating termination of pregnancies among others.
According to the Judiciary, the prioritising of the petitions is one of the strategies put in place to reduce case backlog in the justice system and also to dispense timely justice to the litigants.
The Court of Appeal Registrar, HW Susan Kanyange, added that the court will hold another Constitutional petitions session later this year in September.