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Constitutional Court: Local NGO challenges the Legality of Certain Parliamentary Seats

The Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), in collaboration with the Walezi wa Katiba Foundation and Peter Magelah Gwayaka, has filed a landmark petition at the Constitutional Court of Uganda.

The petition questions the constitutionality of representation by City Women MPs, Municipality MPs, and City Division MPs for the newly established cities. Background of the Petition Article 78 of the constitution prescribes the categories of representation in Parliament of Uganda. As per Article 78(1)(c), provides for one woman representative for each district, explicitly not extending this provision to cities.

According to ACFIM, the current representation of City Women MPs is, therefore, in direct contravention of this constitutional mandate.

Moreover, the transformation of Municipalities into constituencies represented in the national Parliament is a serious misinterpretation of our constitutional guidelines, which are clearly outlined in Articles 1, 2, 8A, 59, 63, 176, 181(3), and 207. The creation of 20 additional constituencies from 10 new cities by the Parliament and Electoral Commission in 2020, beyond the stipulated 12 months post-National Population Census publication, breaches the stipulations of Article 63(3)(5)(7). This act undermines the constitutional framework set forth for population-based representation. The Purpose of the Cities and Municipalities The establishment of new cities and municipalities was carried out by the Government under Article 179 and Section 7(2a) of the Local Governments Act. This development was intended solely for enhancing local government administration and service delivery, not for Parliamentary representation. Relief Sought In pursuit of constitutional compliance and the safeguarding of our democratic principles, ACFIM, with its co-petitioners, seeks the following orders from the Constitutional Court: 1) Immediate vacation of office by the City Woman Representatives, as their seats are not constitutionally recognized. 2) Vacation of seats by Members of Parliament representing Municipalities, as this violates the Constitution. 3) Vacation of seats by Members of Parliament representing the 20 new Constituencies erroneously created in 2020, as they offend constitutional provisions. 4) A prohibition order against the Electoral Commission, preventing them from conducting elections for City Woman Representatives, which lacks constitutional backing. 5) Any other relief that the Honourable Court deems fit in pursuit of justice and constitutional integrity.

“ACFIM, alongside its fellow petitioners, stands firmly committed to the principles of constitutional governance and the proper representation of the Ugandan people. We have full confidence that the Constitutional Court will uphold the supreme law of our nation for the preservation of our democratic values,” reads an official statement posted on ACFIM’s X handle.

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