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High Court judge Musa Ssekaana has dismissed with costs applications by Male Mabirizi, Erias Lukwago and 13 others in which they challenged Justice Simon Byabakama’s stay in office as Chairman Electoral Commission (E.C)
These applicants had has asked court to declare the continued stay of Justice Byabakama in office as illegal, on grounds that he took over office before resigning his position as a Court of Appeal judge.
In his ruling however, Ssekaana said the applicants should have filed this matter in form of a Judicial review after Byabakama took office, which they didn’t.
“This application of Judicial review was expected to be filed within three months after the appointment of the chairman. This was not followed. The should have filed it by 7th April 2017 but instead they filed on 12th August 2019,” he ruled.
“The court ought not to consider stale claims by persons who have slept on their rights. Any application brought under the Constitution or by way of judicial review could not be entertained if presented after lapse of a period fixed by limitation legislation.”
Regarding the application challenging the renewal of Sam Rwakwoojo as the Secretary of Electoral Commission on grounds that he had served beyond the statutory two 5 year terms as stated in section 5(3a) of the E.C Act 2010, Ssekaana ruled that it was not illegal because the amendment were made before concluding his term that started in 2009 up to 2014.
“In effect the amendment had to take effect after the expiry of the contract that was running until 2014. If the law had wanted to have an immediate effect, it would have been a question of agreement between the 3rd respondent and Electoral Commission to have the old contract rescinded and a new one signed in accordance with the Amended Electoral Commission Act.”
“This was never done and supposing the 3rd respondent was not competent to hold that office as per the new law, such contract would never have been granted to him.”
He added that having consulted the Attorney General first before renewing this contract, the Election body can’t be faulted for implementing the Attorney General’s advice on the same
The judge made it clear to the applicants that the law doesn’t not operate in the past but in the present and future period after coming into existence.