Home Courts High Court Judge Faces Criticism from FDC Faction

High Court Judge Faces Criticism from FDC Faction

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A faction within the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has expressed their disappointment with a High Court judge's decision not to halt the National Delegates’ Conference scheduled by the party secretariat on October 6.
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A faction within the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has expressed their disappointment with a High Court judge’s decision not to halt the National Delegates’ Conference scheduled by the party secretariat on October 6.

Kira Municipality Member of Parliament Ssemujju Nganda, who represents the splinter group, called the judge’s decision “unfortunate.” The group had sought a court order to prevent the conference, claiming that the FDC chief electoral commissioner, Mr. Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda, and the party Vice Chairman, Kibuka Mukalazi, had no authority to convene it.

They argued that the conference was an attempt to undermine the powers of the National Chairman, as outlined in the FDC Constitution. The group also requested the court to award costs in light of the internal party dispute.

The faction, which includes National Chairman Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa and spokesman Ssemujju, convened their own delegates’ conference, despite a court order against it, where they were re-elected.

In response, Mr. Bamwenda argued that he could not be personally sued for performing his official duties. He also highlighted that he had been appointed as FDC’s chief electoral commissioner by the party’s National Council. Mr. Bamwenda defended the elections program, which was challenged by the Katonga group, stating that it was in line with FDC’s road map approved by the National Council.

However, in his ruling, Justice Ssekaana noted that the case involved individual members of the FDC rather than the party itself. Therefore, he deemed it unjustified to grant orders that would affect the party’s operations and future. Justice Ssekaana also expressed concerns about the involvement of Erias Lukwago, the Kampala Lord Mayor and the party’s president, as a representative in court, given his potential role as a witness in the main suit.

The judge ruled that the applicants failed to provide sufficient evidence for the grant of temporary injunctions and costs. At a press conference, Ssemujju criticized the judge’s handling of the case, claiming that the judge had made them wait for two hours and only allowed 20 minutes for oral rejoinder submissions before delivering the judgment via email at midnight.

The judiciary spokesperson, Mr. James Ereemye, advised the dissatisfied parties to use legal means available to challenge court decisions they disagree with. Ssemujju explained that they had not sought a judicial review or appealed against the ruling due to the lack of time, as the delegates’ conference was held as scheduled on October 6.