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EC Ordered to Pay UGX 17m to Lawyers for Delaying Election Petition

The ruling was made by Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya during the hearing of an election petition filed by Andrew Kabugo Kaddu challenging the election of Joseph Mulindwa, the LC III Chairperson of Kasawo town council in Mukono district.
Isaac Natala, the petitioner's lawyer, Mukono RO (Middle) and Anthony Muhweezi the lawyer representing EC.

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The  High Court in Mukono has ordered the Electoral Commission to pay 17 million Shillings to lawyers representing Andrew Kabugo Kaddu, a contestant for the Kasawo Town Council chairman's seat. The payment is compensation for delaying the hearing of the case.

The ruling was made by Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya during the hearing of an election petition filed by Andrew Kabugo Kaddu challenging the election of Joseph Mulindwa, the LC III Chairperson of Kasawo town council in Mukono district.

In the petition, Kaddu argues that the Electoral Commission illegally nominated Mulindwa to contest for the seat. He argues that Mulindwa, is a resident at Kitalya, a village in Namuganga sub-county, and therefore, under local government structures, is not allowed to contest for the leadership of another geographical area.

He adds that results from two polling stations of Kitalya-Busiya A-M and Kitalya Busiya N-Z were illegally added to the final election results yet the two are under Namuganga sub-county. He adds that these polling stations were not gazetted by the time elections took place, adding that annulling results from these two stations will change the outcome of the polls. Mulindwa polled 14,076 votes to take the seat ahead of Kaddu who had 13,096 votes.

The case was first presented for review on August 17, before the Electoral Commission’s lawyers requested for more time to file a supplementary affidavit to the response. The presiding judge accepted the request and scheduled the hearing for Thursday, August 26. She also guided that the EC lawyer serves a copy to the petitioner’s lawyer before the hearing.

However, EC Lawyer Anthony Muhweezi appeared before the court on Thursday, without serving the petitioner and requested more time to finalize the affidavit. Justice Kazaarwe adjourned the session for two hours with instruction to the defence lawyer to photocopy and serve the petitioner’s lawyer for perusal which he still failed to do.

She then ruled that the EC pays five million Shillings to each of the petitioner’s lawyers and two million Shillings the petitioner for contempt of court and wasting the court’s time in the course of administering justice. The petitioner is represented by three lawyers; Isaac Natala, Cohen Tumwiine and Nelson Musana, all from Natala and Company Advocates.

Isaac Natala accuses the EC of applying delaying tactics by introducing new evidence which they did not previously cater for in their response to the petition.

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But Muhweezi says compiling evidence is a process requiring time which they have been requesting the court to avail.

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Justice Kazaarwe adjourned the case for further hearing on September 1, on the same day the petitioner and Mukono Returning Officer will be cross examined.         

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