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High Court Upholds LC 1 Elections in Shauriyako

In her ruling, Justice Esta Nambayo set aside the magistrate's decision and declared Muwonge the winner of the elections and awarded him the costs of the suit.
29 Jul 2021 17:23
The High Court Civil Division has upheld the election of Bashir Muwonge as the Local Council One Chairperson of Shauriyako B Nakivubo in Kampala Central. Justice Esta Nambayo delivered the verdict on Thursday morning hence overturning an earlier decision by the Mengo Grade One Magistrate, Patience Lorna Tukundane, which had nullified Muwonge's victory. 

Tukundane overturned Muwonge’s election in 2019 following an application by his rival, Roy Nantege claiming that the Electoral Commission changed the election date from July 10th to July 11th 2018 without gazetting or advertising the new dates, which was irregular and affected the turn-up of his voters since they were not aware of the changes.  

Section 107 of the Local Government Act requires that a date of elections be published in the gazette. The 2017 guidelines for election of village and parish/ward  Administrative Unit Chairpersons, Nominations and approval of Executive members also provided that the Electoral Commission shall appoint a day for elections at the village and parish/ward by notice in the gazette and local media.

Following the decision of the magistrate’s court, Muwonge filed an appeal in the High Court Civil Division, arguing that Tukundane erred when she nullified the election. Muwonge also said that the magistrate didn't permit his counsel to interrogate Nantege’s evidence didn't hear the defence from the Electoral commission since the matter was determined ex-parte and failed to examine evidence presented before her.

In her ruling, Justice Esta Nambayo set aside the magistrate's decision and declared Muwonge the winner of the elections and awarded him costs of the suit. Justice Nambayo argued that Nantege did not prove that the change in dates of the election affected the outcomes of the polls, adding that the difference of 11 votes means that voters of both parties got information about the new dates and turned up to vote.

"The turn up does not show lack of information to any party’s voters. The affidavits in support of the petition show that voters turned up at the election ground on the 11th of July 2018. Those who did not vote failed because their names were not found in the register of voters but not because they were absent for not knowing the rescheduled voting date," ruled justice Nambayo.

Muwonge polled 163 votes while Ntege garnered 152 votes. She also explained that there was information about the new date since even the respondent wrote to EC seeking postponement of the new date.