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Why EC rejected NUP’s constitutional amendments over party ownership

Kampala, (UG):- The Electoral Commission said Tuesday that it cannot gazette the new constitution of the National Unity Platform (NUP) until the legal dispute on the party ownership has been resolved.

Three petitioners; David Ekarlet, Waiga Saphy, and Del Omony, through their lawyers, Baraka Legal Associates, wrote to the EC and filed a case in the high court challenging the amendment of the NUP constitution.

The trio say NUP’s amendment process is illegal and abusive and also contravenes the procedure of amendment in the party constitution as per Article 24.

Mr Julius Mucunguzi, the EC spokesperson, acknowledged the internal strife within NUP concerning their constitution and clarified that the Commission Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, deemed it inappropriate to proceed with amendments or intervene in ongoing legal proceedings.

Mucunguzi emphasized adherence to the sub judice rule, highlighting the EC’s commitment to await the court’s verdict before taking further action.

However, NUP officials say the people challenging the amendment have no legal grounds to do so since they are not members of the party and that the law firm (Baraka Legal Associates) is not registered or known by the regulatory body, the Uganda Law Council.

“We presented to the Commission a letter by the Uganda Law Council confirming that the law firm that purportedly complained on their behalf is fake and non-existent. Gideon Tugume, who signed the complaint, has never been an advocate of the courts of judicature, as he holds out to be,” the party said.

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The party also sought to have the complainants arrested and charged with forgery and fraud. However, the EC referred them to the high court, where a similar case has been filed. 

Explaining the contents of the new party constitution, NUP Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya said it increases the number of leadership positions and expands the delegates’ conference membership.

“It is like the EC and Kibalama’s group do not want our constitution to be progressive,” Rubongoya said, adding that the current party activities, such as registration of members, will continue.

“This is something small. The party has had a lot of hardships and challenging matters before. This is one of them, but soon it will also be no more,” he said, noting that during yesterday’s meeting, EC officials and the `Kibamala group’ didn’t raise “any valid complaint” about the new constitution.

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Despite challenges, NUP remains resolute, vowing to address the issue through legal channels while continuing its political pursuit.

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