The recently expelled senior members of the Liberal Party (PL), including two former MPs, have petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a November 9 High Court ruling which quashed their arguments.
“We appealed on Friday. When you are not contented with a ruling of a lower court, you have no choice but to seek redress with higher court,” Isaie Murashi, who was two months ago fired from the Lower House together with former PL treasurer, Elie Ngirabakunzi, on party recommendation, said yesterday.
The other three plaintiffs are Dr Laurien Nyabyenda, the director of ARBEF – a reproductive health organisation – and former PL party president in the Southern Province, Emmanuel Uwimana (former party first vice president, Western Province) and Emmanuel Musabyimana, former party head in Kicukiro Sector, Kigali.
The complainants argue that they were expelled from the party by the executive committee in contravention of the party’s rules and regulations.
However in his ruling, the High Court president, Johnston Busingye, said: “There is no content in the complaint filed by the plaintiffs because they were expelled according to procedure and should pay Frw5 million for tarnishing the party image by dragging it in unnecessary legal battles.”
There is a provision that the party congress can delegate this committee to act on its behalf,” Busingye ruled.
According to the rules governing the party, members of the executive committee are appointed and expelled by the party congress.
Busingye said the party’s executive committee, which is chaired by PL President Protais Mitali, did all that was required by law including instituting two ad hoc commissions to mitigate the problem between the members and the party, but in vain.
Trouble started when a group of PL members including the five men challenged the August 5 party elections in which Mitali was elected the party president, saying they were marred by fraud.
Mitali, also the minister of Commerce and Industry, beat Polycarpe Gatete for the top job. Gatete resigned from the Chamber of Deputies last month for what he called personal reasons.
Subsequent to the election dispute, the five men were initially suspended from the party leadership positions for four years but later, they were expelled indefinitely, leading to Ngirabakunzi and Murashi to lose their seats in the Chamber of Deputies
The two were later replaced by Charles Kamanda and Francois Udahemuka in the August House.