A Ugandan businessman has dragged the Kenyan government to court over recent remarks by a section of Orange Democratic Movement(ODM) MPs to Uganda’s National Resistance Movement(NRM) in regards to Deputy President William Ruto’s aborted trip to Uganda.
Led by ODM Chairman John Mbadi and Director of Elections Junet Mohamed, the MPs said it is wrong for Ruto to associate with NRM which has a “bad record”.
“The NRM record on human rights is not worth borrowing from. The NRM record on democracy is not worth borrowing… even worse; the NRM is a party of lifetime presidency. NRM is a party that has kept someone in power for 30 years,” the ODM MPs said.
However, in a suit filed before the East African Court registry in Kampala, businessman, and NRM member, Dr. Paul Bamutaze says the statements by the Kenyan legislators were demeaning to both the NRM and Uganda and a country.
He says according to court documents that whereas Kenya under Daniel Arap Moi in 1999 signed the treaty for the establishment of the East African Community, the utterances by its MPs against Uganda’s ruling NRM party contravened, neglected, and flouted provisions for the establishment of the East African Community.
“The applicant states that the statements uttered by the several Members of Parliament as mentioned above undermine principles of cooperation for mutual benefit,” court documents say.
“The statements by the said MPs under Orange Democratic Party were intended to tarnish or cast a bad light on to my country’s (Uganda) bad image as well as the president of the Republic of Uganda because he is the chairman of the National Resistance Movement which is the ruling party.”
According to the businessman, the Ugandan president’s contribution towards the integration of East Africa is well known and hence uttering such “derogatory and demeaning” statements only points towards causing ridicule and disunity among member states.
Bamutaze says that by making such utterances, the Kenyan government through its MPs contravened, provisions of several articles of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community which among others include the maintenance of universally accepted standards for human rights, equitable distribution of benefits, people-centered and market-driven cooperation and free movement of goods.
The Ugandan businessman wants the East African Court of Justice to declare that the utterances by the Kenyan ODM MPs were unlawful.
“The applicant prays that this court makes declarations that the August 4, 2021 public utterances by a section of Orange Democratic Members of Parliament against National Resistance Movement, Uganda’s ruling party were unlawful and infringements on the fundamental and operational principles of the community which include good governance including adherence to principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, the maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights, equitable distribution of benefits, cooperation for mutual benefit, people-centered and market-driven cooperation,” Bamutaze asks court.
He also asked the court for costs in the case.