EACJ dismisses Rt. Hon Zziwa’s application barring legislators from debating her removal

East African Court of Justice, Arusha, 16th November 2014:

The East African Court of Justice First Instance Division today delivered a ruling in an Ex-parte Application (in the absence of the other party) arising from a matter between EALA Speaker, Rt. Hon. Margaret Zziwa – Applicant and Secretary General of the East African Community – Respondent.

The subject matter of the Application was to seek among other things an order prohibiting and restraining EALA from convening on the 17th December 2014 for purposes of considering a Report of the EALA Committee of Legal, Rules and Privileges intended to move a motion for resolution to remove the Applicant from office. Further, the said Committee is restrained from conducting any further investigations in this matter or tabling any report in the Assembly pending the hearing and determination of the main case filed in the Court.

The Court in its Ruling deemed it appropriate that the Application be heard ex- parte at the first instance due to the urgency of the matter considering the Report of the aforementioned Committee is scheduled for tabling and discussion on 17th December 2014, and the Applicants fate as Speaker may well depend on the outcome of this particular sitting of the Assembly.

However, the Court found that the Applicant failed to prove the irreparable injustice that the process of the removal may cause to her, as had been claimed in the application. It was also the Court’s view that since the Applicant made representations to the Committee, to pre-judge the decision of this Committee and that of the Assembly would be unjust.

The Court further noted that Article 53(3) of the Treaty provides for the removal of the Speaker of the Assembly and so any holder of the office ought to know that possibility is always alive and pursuing that course of action will not amount to irreparable injustice to the Applicant.

The Court declared it was unable to accept the Applicant’s case that she is entitled to any ex-parte orders. The Court thus ordered the Application be fixed for hearing inter parte on 3rd February 2015. The Application was dismissed with no order as to cost.

Ruling was delivered by a full bench of Judges of the First Instance Division.

Press Release: East African Court of Justice

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