Court Invaded Our Space- Matembe
September 19, 2000
The Constitutional Court did not have any right to nullify the procedures of Parliament, ethics and integrity minister, Miria Matembe, said on Saturday. "The judge would only have said that the referendum law is null and not to go further than that," Matembe said at an inter-religious dialogue organised by the Always Be Tolerant Organisation (ABETO) and the Bahais of Uganda at Grand Imperial Hotel, Kampala. She said by declaring Parliament rules unconstitutional, Court had "invaded our space". The Constitutional Court August 10 nullified the Referendum and Other Provisions Act, 1999. The court also ruled that Parliament voting by shouting 'Aye' or 'No' was unconstitutional. Parliament subsequently amended the constitution arguing that the ruling had nullified all legislative work done using the above method. Among the amendments was one stopping any Member of Parliament or any other officer of Parliament from testifying in court without the permission of the House. "Since there was intrusion and we don't want to fight the intruder, we put a fence to fight the intruder," Matembe said alluding to a neigbhour who has got rowdy animals. "And I don't expect the neighbour to cut the fence. I am telling you this is exactly what we did," the minister said. On complaints that the amendment process was hurried without giving opportunity to ordinary people and civil society, Matembe said, "These are bedroom matters, you don't call in the sitting room people. How did you expect us to call in civil society?" Ends.
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