The loser in the Kampala Central Division mayoral race, Hamdan Ssemugooma has submitted to the Court of Appeal videos showing his rival, Salim Uhuru allegedly distributing money to voters.
Ssemugooma who garnered 10,654 votes against Uhuru’s 13,114 votes in the January 25th, 2021 elections challenged Uhuru’s victory on grounds of voter bribery, erroneous nomination having failed to present the required signatures supporting his candidature, forging of signatures to support his candidature and having polling stations in military barracks contrary to existing electoral laws.
His petition was however dismissed by High Court Justice Isaac Muwata who ruled that Ssemugooma should have challenged Uhuru’s nomination before polling day not after election. Justice Muwata also ruled that Ssemugooma didn’t have affidavits to support his application.
Ssemugooma had filed 18 affidavits but upon scrutiny, Uhuru’s lawyers noted that the petitioner had introduced new claims not part of the election petition.
The Justice agreed with Uhuru’s lawyers and hence ruled that the affidavits couldn’t be admitted before court.
Ssemugooma was not satisfied with Justice Muwata’s decision and hence filed an appeal for which he appeared on Tuesday before a pannel of three Justices; Egonda Ntende, Cheborion Barishaki and Eva Luswata Kawuma.
Through his lawyers led by Kenneth Paul Kakande, Ssemugooma asked the appellant court to order for a retrial for the case to be heard on its merit and not technicalities. Kakande told court that incase the panel orders for a retrial, the video clips which have also been transcribed shall be used as evidence of bribery allegations.
However, Uhuru’s lawyers led by Ambrose Tebyasa say that the said evidence, was not produced before High Court when the election petition was being heard, and hence cannot be introduced at an Appeal level. Tebyasa says that the Court of Appeal can only review the evidence that was presented before the High Court not new evidence introduced to it.
Court shall deliver it’s judgement on a date to be communicated to the parties.
Meanwhile, the same panel also heard the case in which Annet Nyakecho is challenging the dismissal of her petition in which she opposed the victory of Geoffrey Ekanya as the Tororo North County Member of Parliament.
Nyakecho who garnered 9,563 votes against Ekanya’s 9,674 votes, challenged Ekanya ‘s win citing voter bribery and vote rigging among other electoral malpractices.
She asked the high court in Mbale to nullify Ekanya’s victory but instead, Justice Andrew Bashaija dismissed the application on ground that affidavits presented to support her application were not commissioned by a certified commissioner of oaths.
She appealed and now wants court to determine the matter on merit. Her lawyers from Okello Oryem and Co Advocates say that a failure by a lawyer should not cost their client. The lawyers representing Nyakecho are expected to do due diligence on a commissioner of oaths before seeking their services to administer affidavits of clients.
The parties had earlier filed written submissions which court is now going to review and make a judgement on a date to be communicated.
The Court of Appeal has 81 cases to hear.
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