Masaka High Court Judge Moses Kawumi Kazibwe on Wednesday quashed the guidelines which were issued by the Minister of Local Government Hon Raphael Magyezi after making findings that in passing them, proper procedures of the law were not followed.
This followed an application filed in court by Masaka District Chairman Jude Mbabaali alongside 11 others in which Hon Raphael Magyezi the Minster for Local Government was accused of flauting Local Government rules (CAP 243) when he issued guidelines for the operationalization of new cities at a press conference instead of using a statutory instrument as provided under the law.
These also accused the Minister of declaring the Mayors of Municipalities which turned into cities as the interim political heads of the cities without conducting any election which was procedurely improper, unconstitutional and irrational.
In his judgement, Justice Moses Kazibwe Kawumi pointed out that the law gives the Minister rights to issue guidance on matters in his jurisdiction in a statutory instrument which is not a press conference as he did.
“The purported guidelines did not therefore have any force of law since they were not a statutory instrument under section 175, and were never published in the gazette or laid before Parliament,” the judge stated.
It’s from the above reason that the judge quashed the Minister’s guidelines on the operationalization of new cities with costs to the applicants.
That means that the new cities and the new electoral areas created under the new cities inclusive of the new constituencies remain in existence and shall have elected leaders in the fourth coming elections.
Recently after being dragged to court, the Minister for Local Government drafted a better law which he took to parliament to pass an amendment in the Local Government Act.
The operationalization of the new cities shall take effect in February 2021 with the new leaders that will have been elected.
Later on, the amendment was passed and consented to by the President.
The applicants in this matter included Jude Mbabaali LC5 chairman Masaka District, 15 councilors from Masaka and the Jinja District chairperson.
“We congratulate the people of Masaka for this victory and we thank them for standing with us to uphold the rule of law,” Mbabaali said.