Speaker Rebecca Kadaga

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has today called for mutual respect from the judicial arm of government, criticizing the summons issued to her office, which she said interrupt parliamentary work.

Kadaga’s remarks come in the wake of  the various court summons she has received, the latest being the December summons by Justice Margaret Oguli, after the suspension of six anti-age limit bill legislators who included among others Allan Ssewanyana, Mubarak Munyagwa, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Gerald Karuhanga, Jonathan Odur and Anthony Akol.

“I think there is a need for arms of the state to give each other space; a court cannot order the Speaker to close the House and come and attend a court session,” Kadaga said at the opening of the New Law Year event at the Kampala High Court.

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She noted that parliamentary privileges and immunities should be protected and added that no Member of Parliament should be served over civil matters within House precincts or during sittings.

The current bickering among the three arms of government brings back memories of two court orders issued in 2014 by then Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, to the effect that four National Resistance Movement (NRM) ‘rebel MPs’ including Theodore Sekikubo, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Wilfred Niwagaba and Muhammad Nsereko, be kicked out of Parliament because they had been expelled from their party.

In the other case, in January 2017 Justice Kavuma issued an interim order blocking Parliament from investigating the Shs6 billion that was shared by out by top officials from various government institutions after they reportedly won a Capital Gains Tax case for Uganda against two oil prospecting companies, Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil.

“I direct the Attorney General to move to Court and have this stupid order vacated, I will adjourn the committees and plenary until the Court order is vacated”, Kadaga reacted to Justice Kavuma’s interim order.

Meanwhile, in his remarks at the opening of the New Law Year, the President of Uganda Law Society (ULS) Francis Gimara called  for mutual respect between Judges and Lawyers, noting that  the latter are sometimes humiliated before their clients, public and media by tough judges.

“We want an end to the patterns of impunity and recklessness we saw in 2017 stopped. Non-judicial officers shouldn’t block enforcement of court orders and decisions,” he added.