By Hillary Nsambu

ARUSHA, TANZANIA, Feb 5 The East African Court of Justice has allowed Uganda’s Dr. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa to proceed with her case challenging her dismissal as Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

This followed a ruling in which the court, sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, struck out of its records an application in which the Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC) had sought to block Dr Zziwa from suing EALA for wrongfully and unlawfully removing her from the office of the Speaker of the House.

“We find that the application is misconceived, incompetent and improperly before this Court and do hereby strike it out under the rule of this Court. We have also found that the affidavit supporting the defective application to have been scandalous and distressing on account of its falsehoods,” the Court ruled.

Principal Judge Monica Mugenyi chaired the quorum. The other members were Deputy Principal Judge Isaac Lenaola, Judges Faustino Nteziryayo, Fakihi Jundu and Audace Ngiye.

The Court agreed with Justin Semuyaba and Jet Tumwebaze, the lawyers representing Dr. Zziwa, who had submitted that the Secretary-General’s application had failed to comply with the law and did not have a substantive legal basis and did not have a proper purpose other than being distressful.

In December 2014, EALA impeached Dr Zziwa, alleging misconduct, abuse of office and being disrespectful to the members, a thing Zziwa vehemently disputed, referring the actions of her accuser as vendetta against her, hence her petitioning the East African Court of Justice.

Chris Opoka, a member of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and one of Uganda’s representatives in the EALA, chaired the Assembly’s committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges, which recommended Zziwa’s impeachment, which was effected after 36 members voted in favour against two who opposed with one abstention.