AG absolved of contempt of court charge
The Supreme court has declined to hold the Attorney General William Byaruhanga in contempt of its orders to make the necessary electoral reforms ; saying there’s an effort made by him in having some implemented.
This after 7 Justices led by Stella Arach Amoko unanimously dismissed an application filed by Law Professor Fredrick Ssempebwa and 2 other people who had sought to hold the Attorney General in contempt for failing to report back to the Supreme court on recommendations the Court had made 2 years back.
The said recommendations followed a 2016 Presidential Election Petition Judgement, where Former premier Amama Mbabazi had contested the election of incumbent Yoweri Museveni.
The reforms so far implemented by the Attorney General are; time within which to file Presidential election petitions has been enlarged from 10 to 15 days.
Time within which to hear and determine Presidential Election Petitions has been enlarged from 30 to 45 days
Upon nullification of election results, time within which to hold a Presidential by- election has been enlarged from 20-60 days.
Then oral evidence is now permissible during hearing of Presidential Petitions.
The remaining reforms that AG failed to implement because they require an act of Parliament are; Use of technology in the elections and donations during campaigns.
Others are; involvement of government officials during electoral process and the use of state owned media by all candidates and sanctions to be imposed on a particular media house that fails to comply.
With these the Justices noted that, it would be unfair to hold the AG in contempt since his role was to liase with other government agencies like cabinet and the legislature and follow up on the amendments.
However AG has been given 6 months within which to makes a final report on all the ten recommendations.
By Veronica Kayaga