Two years after Unwanted Witness filed a petition in the constitutional court that seeks to annul Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, the Attorney General has so far failed to file a defence. The Attorney General’s failure to file a response to the petition came to the fore on today when the petition came up for conferencing before Sarah Nkonge, the Deputy Registrar, of the Constitutional Court.
Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, the lawyer representing Unwanted Witness, told Nkonge how the conferencing couldn’t proceed as planned since the Attorney General who hadn’t bothered to send any representative, for this session, had not filed a written response to the petition. This is so, Rwakafuuzi said, yet the Attorney General’s chambers were duly served in 2017, shortly after the petition was filed.
Registrar Nkonge, who is clearly running out of patience, ruled that she was giving the Attorney General up to February, 7, 2019, to file a defence and if not “the case will proceed ex parte” (Ex parte means court proceeds with only one party being represented).
Upon Rwakafuuzi’s request, the Deputy Registrar, issued new summons for all parties, interested in the case including the Attorney general and consequently listed March,5, 2019, as the day the warring parties will meet for purposes of conferencing the petition. Conferencing is an important stage in hearing of constitutional petitions since it’s the stage at which parties frame issues that would form a basis of their arguments once the case goes before the five justices of the Constitutional Court.