The Supreme Court has saved President Yoweri Museveni from being barred from swearing-in.
This is after the Court issued an interim order staying the execution of orders of the Constitutional Court that was pinning Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama for illegally occupying office.
About a fortnight ago, a panel of five justices of the Constitutional Court led by Kenneth Kakuru, ruled that it is illegal for a serving judge to be appointed to any executive job or a constitutional office prior to their resignation.
The landmark decision had mainly affected the current Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Jane Frances Abodo, and the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Justice Byabakama.
The Constitutional Court judgment was a result of a petition filed by the late lawyer Bob Aldridge Kasango, who had challenged his prosecution on the pension scam by then DPP Mike Chibita, who had been appointed the chief prosecutor while he was a judge.
“Judicial officers as custodians of justice must comply with this constitutional requirement. They must not be seen to be contravening the very constitution they took an oath to uphold while requiring others to uphold it. Consequently, any appointment of a judicial officer to any executive or constitutional office before his or her resignation from the judiciary shall be null and void and his or her actions will be null and void,” ruled Justice Kakuru.
The constitutional ruling meant that president Museveni and all other personals that assumed political offices in the last general elections were not going to swear in since the chairperson of the elections was illegally in the office meaning all the electoral processes were null and void.
However, the government appealed against the ruling of the constitutional court in the Supreme Court.
In the appeal, they cited that in case the orders of Constitutional court are implemented, they would be a very big jeopardy in not only swearing of the president but also Members of Parliament including the Local Council leaders.
However, on Wednesday, a panel of five Justices of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Stella Arach-Amoko, Rubby Aweri Opio, Paul Mugamba, and Ezekiel Muhanguzi allowed the application for interim stay of execution of the Constitutional Court orders as requested for by the Attorney General.
“Given the application is substantially important, accordingly, we allow the application and allow an interim order staying the execution of the orders of the Constitutional Court. This order shall remain in force until the disposal of the substantive application or any other order,” the court said in a ruling read by Justice Paul Mugamba on behalf of the other justices.
Now with the ruling, President Museveni and other elected leaders are free to swear in come May, 2021.
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