As the 2021 General election continues to draw closer, elections in the newly created cities hang in balance after the former special assistant to President Museveni, Eddie Kwizera challenged the legislation process leading to the creation of these cities.
Eddie Kwizera the former Bufumbira East legislator, in his petition filed before the Constitutional Court on July 28, contends that in declaring 15 urban areas as cities, it changed the composition of Uganda without amending the Constitution.
He further argues that the Constitution only provided for one city, which is Kampala and that by Parliament merely passing a resolution to create new 15 cities without bringing a constitutional amendment Bill to amend the Constitution prior to the creation of the new cities, renders the process illegal.
“I know that in declaring 15 urban areas as cities, Parliament changed the composition of Uganda without amending the Constitution. The above named additions require Parliament to pass a Bill by at least two thirds of Members of Parliament which Bill is ratified by two thirds of the districts. This, however, was never done.” Kwizera says in an affidavit sworn before court.
It should be remembered that Parliament on April 25, 2020, by resolution, created 15 more cities with 7 of them coming into operation on July 1.
The first cities that got operational are Jinja, Arua, Gulu, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Mbale, Masaka. The operation of Hoima, Lira and Soroti was passed on the 30 July 2020 to start operating immediately.
The other cities that will become operational in the subsequent financial years of 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively are Entebbe, Moroto, Nakasongola, Kabale and Wakiso.
The Ugandan Wire understands that should the constitutional court agree with Mr Kwizera that the 15 cities were illegally created, then it means that the EC would have wasted its efforts in organising 2021 General Election for directly elected MPs, female MPs representing the 10 operational cities, councillors and mayors as the same would be non-existent constituencies.
Through his lawyers of Victoria Advocates and Legal Consultants, Mr Kwizera wants court to declare that the resolution passed by Parliament on April 25, contravenes Article 5 (2) and 261 of the Constitution.
Mr Kwizera also wants the court to invoke article 137 of the Constitution that could put aside any other business at the court and swiftly decide his petition.
He further says if this is expedited, it will help the Electoral Commission to know its position early enough on whether to continue organising the elections in the newly created 10 cities or abandon the same to avoid wasting taxpayers’ money in scenarios of court declaring the same elections null and void.
It should be remembered that Eddie Kwizera is the one who filed a petition challenging the legality of the election of six MPs in the six newly elected municipalities which the Supreme Court is yet to decide on. Last year the Constitutional Court ruled and ordered the six MPs out of Parliament on grounds that they were elected in non-existing constituencies.
The MPs whose fate in Parliament is yet to be decided by the Supreme Court are Mr Patrick Ochan (Apac, UPC party), Dr Elioda Tumwesigye (Sheema, NRM party), Mr Tarsis Rwaburindore (Ibanda, NRM party), Mr Hashim Sulaiman (Nebbi, NRM party), Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri, Jeema party) and Mr Abraham Lokii (Kotido, NRM party).