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Court of Appeal Orders Fresh Hearing of Kampala Central Mayor Race Petition

In a decision delivered on Friday, the Court of Appeal Justices comprised of Fredrick Egonda Ntende, Cheborion Barishaki, and Eva Luswata Kawuma, set aside the decision by the High Court to dismiss Ssemugooma's petition and directed that it should be heard afresh before a different Judge.
01 Jul 2022 14:12
Hamdan Ssemugooma Kigozi in the middle together with his supporters at Court of Appeal

Audio 2

The Court of Appeal has ordered a fresh hearing of the petition in which the loser of the Kampala Central Mayoral race Hamdan Ssemugooma  Kigozi is challenging the victory of Salim Saad Uhuru.

In a decision delivered on Friday, the Court of Appeal Justices comprised of Fredrick Egonda Ntende, Cheborion Barishaki, and Eva Luswata Kawuma, set aside the decision by the High Court to dismiss Ssemugooma's petition and directed that it should be heard afresh before a different Judge.

The Electoral Commission declared National Resistance Movement candidate Uhuru as the winner of the Kampala Central Mayoral race with  13,114 votes against Ssemugooma's 10,654 votes who came second on the National Unity Platform Party ticket.

Ssemugooma petitioned the High Court challenging the victory of Uhuru on grounds that he had bribed voters.  He also noted that Uhuru was nominated erroneously having failed to present the required signatures supporting his candidature and forgery of signatures to support the same.

Uhuru was also accused of conniving with the  Electoral Commission to rob Ssemugooma's his victory, especially at Summit View and State House  Polling Stations where he indicated that there were several election irregularities such as the register indicating that soldiers who had died prior to the elections had participated in voting and also people who were not on the register, thereby exceeding the number of voters at those stations.

Ssemugooma's petition was however dismissed by High Court Judge  Isaac Muwata who ruled that he should have challenged Uhuru's nomination before polling day, not after the 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 Judge agreed with Uhuru's lawyers and hence ruled that the affidavits couldn't be admitted before court.

Ssemugooma appealed to the Court of Appeal seeking to set it aside.  In their decision, the Court of Appeal Justices noted that the High Court Judge wrongly expunged from the Court record some of the additional affidavits yet they are the ones who ought to have supported Ssemugooma's allegations of bribery against Uhuru.

"The learned trial Judge's finding that the Appellant's evidence was insufficient to prove the allegations of bribery, which finding was reached without considering the highlighted evidence was erroneous because such a finding could not be reached without evaluating all the evidence ", said the Justices.

The Justices also indicated that the lower Court Judge misdirected himself on the law governing the trial of election petitions hence striking off the petition by Ssemugooma at a preliminary stage which resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Ssemugooma said that he is happy with the decision and he is hopeful that he will win when they go back to the lower Court.

//Cue in: "Ekisoka Koti eya...

Cue out:...wa Kampala senturo".

English Audio.

//Cue in: "We are glad...

Cue out: ...win this case".//

This is the second election petition that was heard by Justice Muwata which the Court of Appeal is ordering for a fresh hearing.

In May, the Court of Appeal Justices comprised of Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, Christopher Izama    Madrama, and Eva Luswata quashed Muwata's decision of dismissing a petition filed by De Paul Kayanja against the Entebbe Municipality Mayoral  Fabrice Rulinda and ordered that it should be heard afresh.

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