Fort Portal High Court has thrown out an application asking the Electoral Commission-EC to produce and present to court Biometric
Voter Verification–BVV machines.
The application was filed on Monday by Jackson Mbaju Kathika, the loser of the
Busongora County MP election, in Kasese District. Mbaju lost to Gideon Mujungu in the January
elections with 7,601 votes while Mbajui garnered 7,522 votes.
In his application filed by his lawyers led by Guma Davis, Mbaju asked the court to compel the commission to produce the BVV machines
and certified copies of voters registers for Katunguru Market, Katunguru
Primary and Busunga Primary school polling stations.
Mbaju argued that the electoral commission introduced the BVV
machines to conduct a free and fair election but abandoned their use at these
stations and allowed multiple voting and ballot stuffing in favour of his rival
Gideon Mujungu Thembo.
But the EC Principal Legal Officer Enoch Kugonza argued that this
application did not have any merit since it was not filed in time. He also says that Mbaju did not prove to the court that he had tried to request for the machines and
voter registers and failed.
Lady Justice Victoria Katamba dismissed the application on grounds
that the BVV machines are not the only evidence to prove the allegations by
Mbaju. She was also convinced by the commission submission that the machines are
cleaned after six months from the time of use.
“The applicant had ample time under the access to information act
from the time of the election was held to the time of bringing this election,
he had time to demand the documents required as well as the machines” the
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Mujungu’s lawyer Silas Mugabe Kahima said that matters of elections
are of public interest and must be disposed of within a defined time. He also
argued that securing the machines from Kampala to Fort Portal would itself have
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Kugonza also told URN that it would practically be impossible to
carry the machines to court within the defined time of the court.
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But Mbaju’s lawyers Guma Davis are still hopeful that the
available affidavits are enough to have the case in their favour.
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Meanwhile, the High Court in Fort Portal led by Justice Jeanne
Rwakakooko adjourned the hearing of the Bundibugyo LCV election petition to
allow time for lawyers to summarize the case through written submissions.
In the petition filed by former Bundibugyo LCV Ronald Mutegeki he
is challenging the victory of Robert Tibakunirwa who was announced the winner
of the January 2021 election after polling 36,385 votes, Mutegeki polled 32510
Steven Galabuzi one of the lawyers representing Mutegeki said they
have been given up to September 7 for all parties in the case to have put in their
submissions for judgement.
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