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Don't make us refund Shs 9bn salary, illegally elected MPs plead

Legislators whose election to the 10th parliament has been queried by the Supreme court say they should not be asked to refund the over Shs 9 billion that they illegally earned in salaries.

The six MPs say it is government and the Electoral Commission that need to be held accountable. The Supreme court last week upheld a Constitutional court decision and ruled that six legislators representing municipalities created in mid-2016 were illegally elected to the 10th parliament.  

A panel of five justices including Mike Chibita, Paul Mugamba, Faith Mwondha, Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Percy Night Tuhaise ruled that the Constitutional court was right to eject the MPs from parliament for being elected in non-existent constituencies. 

The justices say that the elections were neither conducted in a general election nor as a way of by-election which are the only recognized ways of electing members of parliament.   

The MPs are Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa, Sheema Municipality MP Elioda Tumwesigye, Ibanda Municipality MP Tarsis Rwaburindore Bishanga, Nebbi Municipality MP, Hashim Sulaiman, Apac Municipality MP Patrick Ocan and Kotido Municipality MP Peter Lokoris Abrahams.   

Hashim Sulaiman said that he was elected for the seat after a vacancy in the newly created municipalities was declared by the government and the Electoral Commission. 

“So, I came in as any other Ugandan to participate and I went through. I didn’t know that the seat was non-existent and I still believe that I represented my people rightly," he said. "If there is any problem they should fault government and the Electoral Commission and not us.”

Regarding the money earned during the 10th parliament term, Hashim said that demands by sections of the public for them to pay back the money are not reasonable since they only participated in an election that was officially conducted by authorities.   

Basalirwa argues that they effectively represented their voters in the 10th parliament and also made laws during the period that the court has pronounced itself on. He also argues that asking them to refund money means that even all the work and laws passed were illegal. 

The Supreme court described their election in the previous term of parliament as improper since they were conducted prematurely for non-existent vacancies. Court did not pronounce itself on the money they earned illegally but ordered the six to pay costs to the petitioner Eddie Kwizera after their appeal was dismissed.  

Justice Chibita who wrote the majority decision said: “The petition was filed before the said elections were held with one of the remedies sought being a permanent injunction barring the holding of the elections therein. The nullification of the said elections was a mere consequence of the declaration that the constituencies were unconstitutionally turned into vacancies. As such, the appellants' reliance on the case of Theodore Ssekikubo and others Versus Attorney General (2005) is unfounded.”

In an earlier Constitutional court decision, justice Christopher Madrama Izama held that the elections conducted in these six municipalities were not elections for an office of MP existing under the Constitution. He also noted that the seats contested for did not have a vacancy and were already represented by elected MPs in the 2016 general election.

Comments

+2 #1 WADADA rogers 2022-01-11 18:30
This is embarrassing, Imagine we have a whole department under the Attorney General, solicitor general and a whole legal department at he Electoral commission, surely who needs all these not so useful MPs, they should refund the money they took illegally since they were in office illegally.
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+1 #2 kabayekka 2022-01-11 18:34
Of course the IGG should proceed with the recovery of these salaries.

If not able then these members should join their friends that have been locked up for no reason in Kitalya Prison now 6 months without receiving bail.

This sort of current parliamentary dodgy business is what the public has been warning these lawmakers about.

Do not put up laws that will turn around at the end of the day and put you in prisons for a very long time! Sort of a professional soldier (basirukale) shooting himself in the foot.
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+5 #3 Lysol 2022-01-11 23:39
Only in Uganda can politicians rob taxpayers without shame and get away with it.

In many countries people go into politics because they are already rich and not to get rich. Shameful!!! They should refund all the money or go to jail.
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+1 #4 kibedi nkuutu 2022-01-12 15:57
Isn't the head of the electoral commission a judge? Shouldn't he have known that what he was sanctioning then was illegal?

What does this show and say about our system? This is the type of mess that Ugandans are going through by acting and counter-acting of officials who just don't give a damn about the system!

Officials who think they are beyond and above the law. That judge at the electoral commission should actually this time take direct responsibility about this mess. Byamukama tell us: Did you or did you not know the illegality of these constituencies?
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-1 #5 alex erejo 2022-01-13 10:24
I think its not reasonable to ask the MPs to refund any money.

They didnt create the non existent vacancy and the budget from which they drew salaries. That person who created the vacancy and the one who paid Ghosts should refund the money.

The one who paid can plead with the MPs to refund the money if they come to an understanding in the spirit of cost and benefit sharing
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0 #6 arafat 2022-01-16 03:42
Hon Nambozze red flagged those new created constituencies but the pliable rubber stamp parliament despised her and the parliament proceeded to gazette those constituencies.

Let the parliament, electro commission and attorney general and those MPS refund back the taxpayers money.
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