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Uganda: Speaker Orders 77 Members of Parliament to Vacate Their Seats

(Feb. 17, 2011) On February 11, 2011, Edward Ssekandi, the Speaker of the 332-member unicameral Ugandan Parliament, ordered 77 MPs to vacate their seats in the eighth Parliament. The term for this Parliament ends in May of this year (Yasiin Mugerwa, Uganda: 77 MPs Thrown Out, THE MONITOR (Feb. 15, 2011), The Speaker's action implements a decision of the Supreme Court of Uganda, the highest court in the country, issued on February 11, 2011, upholding an earlier ruling by the Constitutional Court of Uganda (id.)

In its ruling on February 1, the five-judge panel of the Constitutional Court had unanimously found that an MP who won a seat in Parliament as an independent could not continue to hold his/her seat after joining a party while in elected office and that it was unconstitutional for an MP elected as an independent to be nominated as a flag bearer of a party while still a member of Parliament (Hanibal Goitom, Uganda: Court Issues Ruling That May Force 70 MPs to Lose Their Seats, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Feb. 7, 2011),