Case Number REFERENCE NO. 17 OF 2014

This amended Reference seeks to challenge the removal of the Applicant, Dr. Margaret N. Zziwa, from the Office of Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (hereinafter interchangeably referred to as ‘EALA’ or ‘the Assembly’) on the premise that the procedure adopted by the Assembly flouted provisions of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (hereinafter referred to as the “Treaty”), as well as rules of natural justice.
The Reference is inter alia premised on Articles 6(d), 7(2), 8(1)(c), 44, 53(3) and 56 of the Treaty, as well as Rule 24 of the East African Court of Justice Rules of Procedure.
It is instituted against the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), who is sued in a representative capacity on behalf of the EALA, as provided under Article 4(3) of the Treaty.
At the hearing thereof, the Applicant was represented by Jet Tumwebaze and Justin Semuyaba, while Mr. Stephen Agaba appeared for the Respondent.

RespondentSecretary General of the East African Community
ComplainantHon. Margaret Zziwa
Date filed
Treaty Article

First Instance Judgment

VerdictAs we take leave of this Amended Reference, we are constrained to observe that it did illuminate the vitality of respect for and submission to the rule of law in the conduct of public affairs. To that end, we deem it our duty to and do hereby propose that it is a basic expectation that all holders of public office would discharge their duties with respectful regard for designated processes; demonstrable deference to legal propriety and due diligence, and a reasonable disdain for impunity, partiality and bad faith. The trampling roughshod over designated legal processes and basic principles of natural justice would certainly not, in our most considered view, engender an environment conducive to harmonized regional integration in the EAC. The Reference has also brought to the fore the need for EALA to relook at its House and Committee procedural rules, and address lacunas that could cause confusion in its legislative function. In the final result, we do allow the Amended Reference in part with the following Orders: a. A declaration doth issue that the purported sitting of the Assembly on 26th November 2014 without the elected Speaker of the Assembly violated Article 56 of the Treaty; was unlawful, procedurally wrong and of no legal consequence. b. A declaration doth issue that the Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges was improperly constituted for purposes of the Speaker's removal and constituted a breach of the Rules of natural justice owing to demonstrable bias, and accordingly the report arising therefrom is null and void. c. A declaration doth issue that grounds 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.4 and 3.5 do correspond to grounds of misconduct under Article 53(3) of the Treaty. d. Each Party shall bear its own costs. It is so ordered.
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Date deliveredFebruary 3, 2017

Appeal Judgment

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