Lawyers under the Network of Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL) have expressed disappointment over the slow response by government agencies in implementing the Supreme Court judgment recommendations in the 2016 Presidential election petition No.1.
The Supreme Court made ten recommendations in the judgment of the presidential election petition of Amama Mbabazi Vs Yoweri Museveni and others.
This Sunday 26, August, 2018 will mark two years since the Supreme Court judgment made the recommendations to be implemented by the Executive and the Legislature.
The Attorney General was given two years to report back to the Supreme Court the measures that have been taken to implement the recommendations.
During a public dialogue at Makerere University, NETPIL Project Coordinator, Anne Tendo said as friends of court that joined in the case by way of amici curiae, have followed up with the different government agencies ever since the ruling but got no response.
“We have since sought meetings with the Attorney General, the Minister of Justice and Constitution, the Minister for Information and ICT over the implementation process but their response has always been so frustrating,” Tendo said.
NETPIL National Coordinator, Arthur Nsereko said that have credible information that the Supreme Court has recently written to the Attorney General reminding him of the impending expiry of two year period but there was no response to that effect.
The lawyers say they are worried that the lack of election reforms has led to the increased election violence in the country which issue must be solved once government chooses to implement the Supreme Court recommendations.
The Supreme Court recommended that the Executive should among others alter the time for filing and determination of the election petitions, the time for holding fresh elections in case the presidential election are annulled, the nature of evidence, the use of Technology, unequal use of State owned media, the late enactment of relevant legislation, donation during election period and involvement of public officers in political campaigns.
“We are cognizant of the fact that there were some constitutional amendments especially in respect to Article 102 (b); we are also aware that the Executive has made numerous promises that more legislations are to be considered through a constitutional Review Commission which has not seen light of day,” Nsereko said.
Tendo noted that failure to implement the recommendations before the 2021 general elections will render Court decisions and judgment futile and will be bedrock to the rule of law in the country.
“The impact of not implementing the Supreme Court decision is that this will amount to an abuse of the rule of law in the country, lead to stagnation in Constitutional development and will portray an image that the rights of citizens don’t matter,” Tendo said.
Caption: NETPIL National Coordinator, Arthur Nsereko