By Our Staff Writer
Parliament has rejected an application to include the Clerk to Parliament as one of the respondents/defendants in the case in which journalists are challenging their dismissal from covering House plenary and committees.
Two journalists, Mr. Sulaiman Kakaire and Mr. David Tash Lumu of The Observer newspaper sought a judicial review following their dismissal from covering Parliament over inaccurate media reports early last year. They also prayed that their dismissal from covering activities of Parliament be set aside.
The journalists’ lawyer, Mr. Allan Mulindwa, today asked Court to substitute the Attorney General, who was earlier dropped with consent of both parties, with the Clerk to Parliament.
Mulindwa said they had established that the decision to dismiss the journalists was made by the Clerk to Parliament.
“Since this is a matter of judicial review – intended to determine or quash the dismissal, my prayer is that I include the Clerk to Parliament, who made the decision,” said Mr. Mulindwa.
Parliament lawyer Mr. Solomon Kirunda said he was ready to proceed with his defence if had not been ambushed with the new application.
“We object to this prayer (because) it’s controversial and cannot be made orally,” said Mr. Kirunda, adding that, “(The plaintiff’s lawyer) should have made a formal application inorder for us as Parliament to address it more competently before this court.”
“He is making the assumption that it is the Clerk to Parliament who made the decision (to dismiss the journalists). It’s our defence that it is not the Clerk who made the decision,” he said.
Judge Hon. Stephen Musota advised that Mr. Mulindwa formally file their application, which would be heard, if filed before September 8, 2014, when the main case was adjourned to.
“The easier way would have been to engage the Parliament lawyer so as to soften the ground before appearing before court,” said Justice Musota.