Cec

Kato Gabriel highlights flaws in Attorney General’s legal opinion on CEC

(Last Updated On: 16 April 2024)

In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, April 16, Gabriel Kato, a member of the ruling NRM party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) who represents people with disabilities, disagreed with the Attorney General’s legal opinion.

On April 11, CEC met at State House Entebbe, and Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, who had been invited by NRM’s national chairman, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, attended.

Kiryowa Kiwanuka, among others, listed the names of legitimate CEC members as well as those holding positions illegally in his ten-page legal opinion to the national chairman who presided over the meeting.

Read the details here: Exclusive: CEC members Wanyoto, Muhwezi, Nassur and others, told to quit

Kato, on the other hand, believes that his opinion contains flaws. The top NRM member describes the legal opinion as “biased.”

“The main agenda of the meeting was to review NRM membership registration and we got the report from the Secretary General. But, there was another issue that members of the leagues’ term expired together with the special nominees under CEC. Immediately after communication from the chairman of the party, the Attorney General came in with legal advice.

“He came with a write up which you saw on social media. But when you read the legal opinion of the learned Attorney General, you could see there was some biased, it was a biased opinion because take an example; I cease to be a member of CEC when I am subjected to an election. When a youth is 29 years old, or 30 years old can participate in youth’s election and be voted in. 

“Even if you become 34, 35, you will still be a youth according to the law. You cease to be a youth when subjected to a vote. So, I saw the arguments of my learned Attorney General were really out of order.”

When asked if he would protest the Attorney General’s legal opinion and guidance that the party hold elections, Kato responded: “The recommendation that he gave…I’m not with his opinion [not supporting his opinion] because it was a biased opinion based on the following reasons:

“One, why there is a delay in elections is because we still have COVID; we are still in COVID restrictions. Take an example, you cannot meet a Head of State when you have not tested for COVID. So it means according to the Laws of Uganda, we still have some COVID even if it’s not much; that is why we kept on extending the term of office for these leagues and special nominees.

“You saw how he was quoting the World Health Organization (WHO) but this is an independent country. We know how to handle our matters independently. If the Ministry of Health is still feeling that anytime, any day COVID can still come back, why come out and rule out without consulting the Ministry?” he questioned.

Also read: Dr Erizali Opio: Former Uganda Cranes Doctor passes on aged 83

The Attorney General also cited Public Health Act, writing, “While the regulations made under the Public Health Act for control of the COVID-19 pandemic may still exist, it cannot be said that it is impractical to hold elections as public movement and public gatherings are happening without restrictions.”

In response Kato said: “We have never lifted COVID in Uganda. So that Statutory Instrument still operates in Uganda because the national task force chairman of COVID is H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, he has never lifted COVID in Uganda. So how do you quote that same document that they have ever lifted COVID and it’s not lifted by the Parliament or by the Ministry of Health in Parliament?”

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“It is not anywhere in the record that it has been lifted. So, the learned Attorney General there misfired. He quoted a wrong Law.”

On reports that the national chairman has directed him and other CEC members to resign due to illegalities, and that the party conduct a new election as directed by the Attorney General, Kato, the chairperson of the PWDs League, stated: 

“There is nothing like a directive.”

“Even the Attorney General has no power to tell me to vacate my office when I was voted in by the majority. It is not anywhere in Uganda. So, it is you to subject me to vote, to election; they vote me out or I come back. His Excellency didn’t direct anything as far as vacating our offices, no.

“So, the opinion of the Attorney General, it was for him, he was an individual who was biased politically or on other issues maybe,” he added.

When asked if plaintiff Daniel Obal‘s prayers in court would force him out of office, the CEC member became hesitant to discuss the matter.

 “The matter is in court, I will not say anything. We have submitted our defence, our Lawyers will go and do the needful. Thank you.”

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