The Constitutional Court is this month set to hold multiple sessions to clear 53 cases including petitions and applications.
A month-long session will start on October 5, 2020 and thereafter their lordships will start the judgment writing process.
According to the cause-list signed by the Acting Assistant Registrar at the Court Mary Babirye, the Justices will be hearing 38 Petitions and 15 Constitutional Applications most of which were filed between 2011 and 2014. The document indicates that a panel of five Justices led by Fredrick Egonda Ntende, will conduct the session. Other Justices on the panel are; Elizabeth Musoke, Cheborion Barishaki, Muzamiru Kibeedi and Irene Mulyagonja.
Some of the notable petitions that will be heard are that of the four-time Presidential Candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye where he is sued the Attorney General challenging Section 26 of the Penal Code Act. Besigye says this Section contravenes the provisions of the Constitution enshrined under Article 23, 28, 29 and 44.
The section in issue talks about the offense of Terrorism, its ingredients and its punishment upon conviction being life imprisonment. Dr. Besigye contends that the terrorism offense and its ingredients thereunder contravene the constitutional rights to expression, movement, religion, assembly and association. He also states that the offense in its present form contravenes constitutional right to personal liberty, fair hearing and other human rights and freedoms in the Constitution.
In another public interest petition, the Reform Party is contesting the continuous presidential appointments and retention of Electoral Commission Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and five commissioners saying it is unconstitutional in a multiparty dispensation.
Others include Kampala Capital City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago challenging quasi-judicial powers given to the Minister for Kampala under the KCCA Act among other petitions.
This session is one of the strategies the Court of Appeal has put in place to reduce the case backlog amidst shortage of Justices at the Constitutional Court. Currently, there are 266 Constitutional Petitions and 231 Constitutional Applications pending at the Court.
The new Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, while unveiling his plan for the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court, emphasized the fact that Constitutional Matters take precedence over other matters. “We need to prioritize Constitutional matters over the other cases and give them expeditious disposal.”
To ensure that the session goes according to plan, Babirye has since signed hearing notices which have been sent to the parties such that they can keep time and also be able to file timely submissions.
She said the Court will equally adhere to Standard Operating Procedures as directed by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of #Covid-19.