Gov't loses Shs 600m appeal case against mayor Lukwago

Erias Lukwago

Erias Lukwago

The Court of Appeal has dismissed government’s application seeking to challenge the reinstatement in office of Kampala city Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

A panel of three Justices Kenneth Kakuru, Stephen Musota and Christopher Madrama dismissed the application challenging Justice Lydia Mugambe’s orders to reinstate Lukwago on grounds that it had no merit.

On Friday, the justices also ruled that their application had been overtaken by events. In March 2014, Justice Mugambe of the Civil Division of High court reinstated Lukwago as the lord mayor for Kampala after being impeached by the KCCA councillors over abuse of office and incompetence.

Justice Mugambe also ordered KCCA and government to compensate Lukwago all the costs Lukwago incurred as a result of unlawful impeachment which is approximately Shs 562 million.

However, the attorney general and KCCA being dissatisfied with the ruling appealed. Justice Mugambe denied them leave on grounds that it would prejudice the respondent. Attorney general and KCCA had to go to Court of Appeal arguing that the High court departed from the law on contempt by holding in contempt people who had not received the court order and had reportedly not been accorded a right to fair hearing.

These are; former attorney general Peter Nyombi (deceased), former Electoral Commission chairman Badru Kiggundu, former minister in charge of Kampala Frank Tumwebaze and former KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi Ssemakula. 

Attorney general thus demanded Court of Appeal to grant the leave of court. However, during the hearing of this case, Lukwago through his lawyers argued that the application by attorney general was bad in law and amounted to abuse of court process in as far as the persons who were found to be in contempt of court order didn’t show any dissatisfaction with it. 

Lukwago also argued that the attorney general abused the interim order issued by the former deputy chief justice Steven Kavuma by locking his office up to the end of that term as lord mayor in 2016.

He also argued that he had been re-elected as lord mayor again in June 2016. It’s against this background that Court of Appeal has dismissed the application by attorney general and KCCA and ordered them to pay costs of the suit.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd