Ex-PL lawmakers drop court case

KIGALI - Former MPs Elie Ngirabakunzi and Isaie Murashi have let go of their bid to be reinstated as lawmakers. The former Liberal Party (PL) legislators in the Chamber of Deputies yesterday withdrew their injunction appeal from the Supreme Court after court turned down their application to have Parliament summoned as a defendant. “I request court with consent of my colleagues from defense that we drop the appeal case because there is no relevance in the case when the parliament is not part of the trial as we had requested,” Mbaga Tuzinde Mbonyimbuga, the lead counsel for the embattled former MPs, said yesterday.
NO WAY OUT: Counsel Mbonyimbuga speaks to his clients former MPs Ngirabakunzi (centre) and Murashi at the Supreme Court, Kimihurura, yesterday. (Photo/ G.Barya)
NO WAY OUT: Counsel Mbonyimbuga speaks to his clients former MPs Ngirabakunzi (centre) and Murashi at the Supreme Court, Kimihurura, yesterday. (Photo/ G.Barya)

KIGALI - Former MPs Elie Ngirabakunzi and Isaie Murashi have let go of their bid to be reinstated as lawmakers. The former Liberal Party (PL) legislators in the Chamber of Deputies yesterday withdrew their injunction appeal from the Supreme Court after court turned down their application to have Parliament summoned as a defendant. “I request court with consent of my colleagues from defense that we drop the appeal case because there is no relevance in the case when the parliament is not part of the trial as we had requested,” Mbaga Tuzinde Mbonyimbuga, the lead counsel for the embattled former MPs, said yesterday.

Earlier in the day, the appellants had said that the state be represented because of the decision taken by the Chamber of Deputies to allow the swearing-in of replacements for the two MPs while the dispute was still before the courts of law.

The injunction, which they had sought and subsequently lost at the High Court, was intended to block the swearing-in of new lawmakers.

Ngirabakunzi and Murashi argued that their expulsion from the party was in conducted illegally.

“Our position is that Parliament contravened article 78 of the Constitution and they should be summoned by the court to explain this,” Mbaga said.

The article stipulates that any disputes arising between deputies and their parties shall be adjudicated to the High Court on first instance and appealed for at the Supreme Court.

“We submitted the notice of our appeal to Parliament on October 8 and a day after, they went ahead to organise the swearing-in of the successors of my clients,” Mbaga said.

PL replaced Ngirabakunzi and Murashi with Francois Udahemuka and Charles Kamanda in the Chamber of Deputies.

However, the party attorneys John Bosco Kazungu and Serge Kayitare argued that there was no relevance in summoning Parliament since they were only acting on the directives of the party.

Subsequently, Justice Paul Ruyenzi, who presided over the three-man quorum, ruled that the court found no relevance in summoning the Parliament.

“The fact that the presence of Parliament in this trial would not affect any decision that court might come up with renders it unnecessary to have it represented here,” Ruyenzi ruled.

Disputes within the party started in August after PL elections that saw Commerce and Trade minister Protais Mitali becoming president replacing senate vice-president Prosper Higiro.

However, the two MPs and three other party senior leaders claimed election rigging, and later asked Mitali and his committee to set down.

The other contestants are Laurien Nyabyenda, Emmanuel Uwimana and Emmanuel Musabyimana. 

They accused Mitali and others of bribing voters, accusations which the party chiefs vehemently denied.

Incidentally, Ngirabakunzi had also been elected as the party treasurer.

Subsequently, the five politicians and other party members wrote to the Minister of Local Government Protais Musoni demanding him to annul the election results.

The party eventually sacked the five as its members and, went on to replace Ngirabakunzi and Murashi in Parliament.

Meanwhile, the High Court will on November pronounce itself on the other case in which the five politicians sued PL for expelling them. During this particular hearing recently, Ngirabakunzi and Murashi had sought for Frw10 million each, while remaining sought five million each from the PL as compensation.

The party also requested for 30 million from all the members as damages for their alleged defamation of the image of the party and the ruling is set for November 1.

Ends

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