The MPs Bernabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga county) Muhammad Nsereko, Wilfred Niwagaba, (Ndorwa East) and Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga county) were dismissed in May last year by the ruling NRM party for alleged indiscipline because they criticised the government policies and decisions.
Four of the five judges on the panel ruled that the MPs lost their positions the moment they were expelled from the party.
Justices, Richard Butera, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Steven Kavuma, a former Minister, Faith Mwondha, the former Inspector General of Government and Augustine Nshimye a former Minister all ruled that the MPs lost their seats in Parliament when their party dismissed them.
Justice Remmy Kasule, was the only one of the five-panel bench that argued on the contrary while arguing that expulsion of the MPs does not equate to losing one’s mandate which he argued, was given to them by their voters and not the party.
The MPs said they will appeal the decision in the Supreme Court. But the justices of the Constitutional court demanded their immediate removal from Parliament. They also ordered them to pay costs of the applicant.
The decision by the Constitutional Court shocked few people largely because of the judges previous judgement on the same people but also because of their previous postings as government employees or cadres.
One commentator wrote about Justice Butera as: “He was terrible as DPP, he can’t do much better as a Justice of the Constitutional Court.”
Justice Kavuma, the Acting Chief Justice is also considered a cadre judge because, as the expelled MPs noted, he was by last year still a member of the NRM party.