PL case goes to Supreme Court

PARLIAMENT - Expelled MPs Elie Ngirabakunzi and Isaie Murashi have petitioned the Supreme Court following Friday’s High Court ruling which did not grant request to stay a decision to replace them in the Chamber of Deputies.
Chief Justice Aloysie Cyanzayire.
Chief Justice Aloysie Cyanzayire.

PARLIAMENT - Expelled MPs Elie Ngirabakunzi and Isaie Murashi have petitioned the Supreme Court following Friday’s High Court ruling which did not grant request to stay a decision to replace them in the Chamber of Deputies.

The appeal was filed at the Supreme Court yesterday and is registered as case number R.ADA0022/07/CS. 

The duo was forced out of their party, Liberal Party (PL) and Parliament on September 27, and on October 2, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced their replacements in Parliament.

“We have filed our appeal and we still hope that something will be done to keep our clients as MPs,” Floribert Karuranga, one of the counsels for the embattled parliamentarians, said.

Several new MPs are scheduled to be sworn in today, but Karuranga said his clients cannot be replaced before the Supreme Court pronounces itself on the case.

A High Court quorum presided over by Judge Emmanuel Itamwa dismissed the two MPs’ case on grounds that the charges were baseless.

The same court ruled that article 78 of the Constitution which provides for settlement of any dispute that may arise out of controversial replacement do not apply in this particular case.

“Disputes relating to decisions taken in accordance with the proceeding paragraph are adjudicated by the High Court of the Republic in the first instance and by the Supreme Court in the second and the last instance,” reads part of the said article.

The article provides that in the event of an appeal, the execution of the decision of the court of first instance is stayed until the Supreme Court rules on the appeal.

“The judge disregarded the nature of the duties of the plaintiffs when he ruled that in case they emerged the winners during the trial in substance, their damages would be enumerated in monetary terms,” said part of the appeal document that was submitted to the registry of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the judge, during his ruling, had refuted the assertion by PL attorney John Bosco Kazungu that there was no motive for the injunction since the replacement of the two MPs had already been announced.

Kazungu could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a meeting by press time.
The wrangles within the party stem from the August 5 party elections in which Commerce and Industry minister Protais Mitali emerged as new president, replacing Senate vice president Prosper Higiro.

Meanwhile, the Ngirabakunzi, who was PL treasurer, Murashi, and three other expelled party officials – president for the Southern Province, Dr Laurien Nyabyenda, Emmanuel Uwimana (first vice president for Western Province) and Emmanuel Musabyimana (president in Kicukiro Sector, Kigali – have also filed a separate but related lawsuit with the High Court challenging their expulsion from the party.

The hearing in substance is set for October 18.
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