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Court Dismisses Petition Against Rakai Woman MP Juliet Kinyamatama

Nalubega ran to court challenging Kinyamatama’s nomination by the Electoral Commission on grounds that she was not a registered voter anywhere in Uganda, which disqualifies her from being nominated and subsequent election for any elective position.
Rakai Woman MP, Juliet Kyinyamatama and Amolatar Woman MP, Doreen Amule addressing the media
High Court Judge Esta Nambayo has upheld the victory of Juliet Ssuubi Kinyamatama as the Rakai Woman member of parliament. 

She made the decision while delivering her verdict in an election petition filed by Kinyamatama’s National Unity Platform rival, Grace Nalubega in the January 14th general election.  

Nalubega ran to court challenging Kinyamatama’s nomination by the Electoral Commission on grounds that she was not a registered voter anywhere in Uganda, which disqualifies her from being nominated and subsequent election for any elective position.

She also told the high court that Kinyamatama contravened the statutory technicalities of changing her names on the nomination papers she presented to the Electoral Commission, adding that this makes her ineligible for election.  

She indicates that while the respondent introduced herself to Electoral Commission as Ssuubi Kinyamatama Juliet K, she was instead nominated by the particulars of Juliet Kobusingye, which she argued was irregular.  

Nalubega challenged the Electoral Commission for nominating a candidate without making due diligence on the inconsistencies in her papers. She asked the court to nullify Kinyamatama's nomination and consequently set aside her election. 

However, in her defence, Kinyamatama told the court that she swore a statutory declaration of a deed poll to effect a change in her names when she adopted new identities different from those on her academic papers.  

She also argued that the same complaints were earlier raised and settled by the Electoral Commission before nomination and wondered how the matter ended up before the court. 

Justice Esta Nambayo dismissed the application with costs against the applicant on grounds that Kinyamatama had complied with the statutory declaration and dully explained the changes to the Electoral Commission, which qualified her for nomination and eventual election.  

She noted that the addition of new names does not mean that the respondent had totally become a different person and that she has nothing to do with all her previous records in the old names. 

“The declaration presented to the Returning Officer at nomination clarifies on the new names that the 1st Respondent added to her old names and it confirmed that she is one and the same person….,” the ruling reads in part.  

Justice Nambayo also observed that that swearing a deed poll does not forfeit someone of all the rights they had with the former names; which include academic certificates and voter's cards. Nalubega has promised to consult her legal team and decide their next course of action.