Speaker, Chief Justice differ on separation of power

Speaker, Chief Justice differ on separation of power
The Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, Vice president Edward Ssekandi,the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, DCJ Alfonse Owiny-Dollo at the Law Year Opening

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has cautioned the Judiciary against intimidating parliament from doing its work. According to Kadaga, there have been attempts in the recent past by the judiciary to encroach on the powers of parliament.

She says there is need for clear separation of powers between the different arms of government to help each other in fulfilling their mandates. Kadaga, who was speaking during the opening of the new law year, noted that while she isn’t opposed to courts of law checking the output of parliament, she has a problem with being directed on how to do her work.

The Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe allayed the fears of the speaker, saying the Judiciary has not intentions of interfering in the work of parliament or any other arm of government for the matter.

Kadaga’s complaint stems from an order issued by High court in December last year summoning the speaker and the Attorney General over the suspension of several legislators for disrupting proceedings during the debate on the presidential age limit. Police intercepted the Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba as he made his way to serve the Speaker.

In January last year, the then Deputy Chief Justice, Steven Kavuma also issued an orders barring for debating the Shillings 6 billion bonuses issued to 42 top government officials for their role in the Heritage Oil tax case. This angered the speaker prompting her to describe the court orders as ‘stupid order”.

Kadaga faults court for issuing the orders stopping parliament from doing its work, saying the Parliaments (Powers and Privileges) Act, says no process issued by any court in Uganda in the exercise of civil jurisdiction shall be served or executed within the precincts of Parliament while Parliament is sitting or through the Speaker, the Clerk or any other officer of Parliament.

There are three arms of Government, the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. They each play a unique role and are expected to check on each other. Separation of Powers is provided for in the Constitution of Uganda under article 91 (1), which states that the exercise of the legislative powers is vested in the Parliament of Uganda with power to make laws through bills passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.

Article 126 (1) provides that the exercise of judicial powers is vested in the Judiciary which is derived from the people and is exercised by the courts established under this Constitution in the name of the people and in conformity with law and with the values, norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda.

Article 99 (1) provides that the executive authority of Uganda is vested in the President and shall be exercised in accordance with this Constitution and the laws of Uganda.