Court name
Supreme Court of Uganda
Judgment date
22 March 2017

Jinja Produce & Millers Association Ltd & Ors v UMEME (U) Ltd (CAD/ARB/-2017/3) [2017] UGSC 2 (22 March 2017);

Cite this case
[2017] UGSC 2

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

 

THE CENTRE FOR ARBITRATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

[CADER]

 

 CAD/ARB/NO.03 OF 2017

 

  1. Jinja Produce & Millers Association Ltd
  2. Kasule Salim t/a Jambula Millers
  3. Badru Buyinza t/a Pologoma Grain Millers
  4. Ogwal James t/a Bondo Millers Association
  5. Kigenyi Abdu t/a Corner Millers Group
  6. Ntege Suleiman t/a Bando Millers Association
  7. Bireiri
  8. Badiru Kisambira t/a Corner Millers Group
  9. Hajji Ali Juma t/a Corner Millers Group
  10. Hassan Wakoba t/a Corner Millers Group
  11. Mawanda Bosco
  12. Were Peter
  13. Tenya Yefe
  14. Keseda Michael t/a Bando Millers Association
  15. Mabiro Mande
  16. Kungu Edward t/a Pologoma Grain Millers
  17. Kauma Zakia Malole
  18. Bogere Samuel Buyinza
  19. Oyella Victoria t/a Corner Millers Group
  20. Mbabazi Asha t/a Bando Millers Association
  21. Najibu Lugaire
  22. Hajati Shamim Namata t/a Bando Millers Assocation
  23. Hajati Halima Zasanze
  24. Nankya
  25. Prossy Wamboko
  26. Kasubu Annet
  27. Nalongo Kabimbiri
  28. Namuli Alice ………………………….…………. APPLICANTS

 

VERSUS

 

UMEME (U) LTD …….....…………………………… RESPONDENT

 

Applicant counsel.

Gimanga Sam                          -           Shonubi Musoke & Co. Advocates.

 

Respondent counsel.

Omongole Richard      -           Omongole & Co. Advocates.

 

 

 

RULING

 

  1. The Respondent has signed contracts for the supply of electricity to the Applicants’ grinding mills at Jinja Industrial Area.

 

  1. Numerous problems cropped up in implementation of the contract causing the Applicants to commence the arbitration process.

 

  1. It is common ground that: -

 

  1. all parties are agreed to refer the matter to arbitration, and
  2. all efforts by the parties, since 2010, to establish the arbitral tribunal have not yielded any fruit.  

 

  1. The Applicants now pray that CADER appoints an arbitrator to preside over the despite.

 

  1. The Respondent opposes the prayer because:-

 

  1. the Applicants failed to streamline the process for appointment of three-person arbitration panel;
  2. the Application has not followed the prescribed CADER procedures; and
  3. the combination of both grounds renders the Application premature.

 

  1. The Applicants evidenced the following contracts which all bear the same dispute resolution clause.

 

Applicant number

Applicant Party Trade Name

Applicant Party

Applicant signing date

Respondent signing date

4

Bando Millers Association

Ogwal James

24-Nov-2009

11-Dec-2009

6

Bando Millers Association

Ntege Suleiman

24-Nov-2009

11-Dec-2009

10

Corner Millers

Hassan Wakoba

09-Mar-2010

15-Mar-2010

11

Kazimingi Milers Association

Mawanda Bosco

09-May-2010

10-May-2010

12

Win Win Millers Association

Were Peter

28-Apr-2010

24-Mar-2010

13

Win Win Millers Association

Tenya Yefe

28-Apr-2010

24-Mar-2010

14

Bando Millers Association

Kesede Michael

24-Nov-2009

11-Dec-2009

15

Win Win Millers Association

Mande Mabiro

28-Apr-2010

24-Mar-2010

19

Corner Millers

Oyella Victoria

09-Mar-2010

15-Mar-2010

19

Corner Millers

Hajji Ali Jum[b]a

09-Mar-2010

15-Mar-2010

20

Bando Millers Association

Mbabazi Asha

24-Nov-2009

11-Dec-2009

21

Home Road Millers

Lugaire Najibu

7-Sep-2010

6-Sep-2010

24

Tusanyukirewamu Association

Nankya [Magret?]

16-Dec-09

24-Nov-09

26

Zibalatudde Millers Association

Kasubo Annet

28-June-2010

25-May-2010

28

Tusanyukirewamu Association

Alice Namuli

16-Dec-09

24-Nov-09

 

  1. The above tabular analysis shows that the persons listed, in the table below, did not produce any contracts evidencing the pertinent dispute resolution clause.

 

Applicant number

Applicant Party Trade Name

 

Incorporation Certificates evidenced

1

Jinja Produce & Millers Association Ltd

Companies Act Certificate registered on 31-May-2004

2

Kasule Salim t/a Jambula Millers

Business Names Registration Act Certificate No.170609

3

Badiru Buyinza t/a [M]Pologoma Grain Millers

Business Names Registration Act Certificate No.170581

5

Kigenyi Abdu t/a Corner Millers Group

 

7

Birieri

 

8

Badiru Kisambira t/a Corner Millers Group

Business Names Registration Act Certificate No.170938

9

Hajji Ali Juma t/a Corner Millers Group

 

16

Kungu Edward t/a Pologoma Grain Millers

 

17

Kauma Zakia Malole

 

18

Bogere Samuel Buyinza

 

22

Hajati Halima Zasanze

 

25

Prossy Wamboko

 

27

Nalongo Kabimbiri

 

 

  1. The dispute resolution clause (repeated through all the contracts) reads as follows,

“This MOU and the rights and obligations of the parties under or pursuant to this MOU shall be governed by and construed in accordance to the laws of Uganda.  Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this MOU that has not been resolved amicably shall be finally settled in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act CAP 4 Laws of Uganda”.

 

  1. When we apply the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap.4 [hereinafter referred to as the ACA] to the above clause the following interpretation is borne out,
    1. any pre-arbitration, amicable resolution may be recorded under Section 58 ACA;
    2. any amicable resolution may be resolved during the course of arbitration proceedings under Section 30 ACA;
    3. the envisaged non-amicable final settlement can only result from the arbitrator’s award under Sections 31 and 32(1) ACA.

 

  1. Full citation of the parties reported failed attempts to set up would only make pleasant reading for a suspense novel.  Suffice it to say that the evidence on record proves the parties have never successfully completed the task of instituting the arbitration tribunal.
  2. The dispute resolution clause does not provide the number of arbitrators.  The Respondent has not proved any clause, which determines that there should be three arbitrators.  Section 10(2) ACA therefore bound the parties at all times, to appoint only one arbitrator.

 

  1. I am satisfied that this ten year odd failure necessitates invoking statutory interventionist powers under Section 11(3)(b) ACA to put in place the arbitration tribunal; more so given that neither counsel attempted to imbue the dispute resolution clause with an addendum appointment procedure agreement.

 

I shall therefore appoint the arbitral panel in the consequential ruling.

 

  1. The other matter arising from this Application is whether Applicant counsel was right to consolidate all the parties in the single application for appointment of the arbitrator, which I have considered.

 

  1. In court proceedings, parties may be joined when: -
    1. counsel drafts the pleadings – Order 1 Rule 2 Civil Procedure Rules, S.I.71-1 [hereinafter referred to as the CPR], and
    2. a plaintiff pursuing defendants who are all liable under one contract – O.1 r.6 CPR.

 

  1. In any event misjoinder or nonjoinder is not fatal in court proceedings; the trial court is vested with the discretion to proceed with trial of the controversy regarding the rights and interests of parties before Court- O.1 r.9 CPR.

 

  1. In arbitration consolidation of parties falls in the realm of party autonomy.

 

  1. In this context, I describe party autonomy as the right of the parties to determine the procedure, which shall guide resolution of their case.  Experienced counsel, do design arbitration rules, which are customized to the peculiarities of the case.  These rules can be drafted before or after the case has arisen.

 

  1. No consolidation clause was evidenced before me.

 

  1. Having warned myself not to breach the party autonomy principle, I am inevitably restricted from issuing a blanket appointment covering all the parties listed in this Application.

 

  1. Therefore going through the list of contracts proved with arbitration clauses, I shall now appoint a single arbitrator, for every contract proved with the arbitration clause.

 

  1. The proved applicants, from Table 1 above, are Bando Millers Association, Corner Millers, Home Road Millers, Kazimingi Millers Association and Zibalatudde Millers Association.

 

  1. It follows logically that each appointment is issued as if each applicant had filed a single application, with the attendant filing costs, which will be remedied by the affected applicants in respect of each appoint.

 

  1. The appointed arbitrator list shall be issued in the consequential ruling.

 

Dated at Kampala on the 22nd day of March 2017.

 

……………………………………………..

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR