Ssenyonyi’s lawyers from Pace Advocates led by George Musisi, argue that the amended petition filed by Shukla Mukesh Babubhai on May 10 2021, which they received on Monday evening introduces fresh allegations and came in the court out of time.
The legal team of Joel Ssenyonyi, the Nakawa
West Member of Parliament has protested a fresh election petition filed against
their client. Ssenyonyi’s lawyers from Pace Advocates led by
George Musisi, argue that the amended petition filed by Shukla Mukesh Babubhai
on May 10 2021, which they received on Monday evening introduces fresh
allegations and came in the court out of time.
Mukesh first petitioned the High Court on March
19, 2021 challenging Ssenyonyi’s electoral victory mainly on allegations of electoral
irregularities such as under-declaring his votes, ferrying non-registered
voters to participate in elections as well as ballot stuffing among others.
"The first respondent/Electoral Commission
occasioned irregularities when they presented the declaration of result forms that
were not signed or witnessed by the presiding officer and based on the same to
declare 2nd respondent/Ssenyonyi a validly elected Member of Parliament",
reads the original petition in part. Mukesh filed the original petition
on the last day of the 30-day deadline for
filing election petitions
However, two months after the deadline, Mukesh filed an amended petition on May
10, 2021 and only served Ssenyonyi's lawyers on
Monday evening. In this petition, Mukesh raised fresh allegations questioning
Ssenyonyi’s academic qualifications for election as a member of parliament.
Ssenyonyi ran on the National Unity Platform party candidate and defeated
eleven other contenders after obtaining 31,653 votes.
His National Resistance Movement-NRM rival, Margaret
Zziwa Nantongo came second with 9,450 votes followed by Kenneth Paul Kakande in
third position with 2,780 votes, the Forum for Democratic Change candidate Wilberforce
Kyambadde came fourth with 1,512 votes while Independent candidate Acer Godfrey
Okot took the sixth position with 931 votes.
Shukla Mukesh Babubhai came seventh with 806
votes followed by Robert Asiimwe 668 votes, Christine Gloria Katusiime 479
votes, Robert Kasozi from the People's Progressive Party 300, Zachariah Isabirye
280, Aisha Wanyama 239 votes whereas Emmanuel Tebisuula Sserumaga trailed the
pack with 196 votes.
Nevertheless, Mukesh claims in his petition that
on top of informing the Electoral Commission about the irregularities, by the
time of Ssenyonyi's election, he was not qualified to be elected as a Member of
Parliament contrary to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
"That I requested for the documents
submitted by the 2nd respondent/Ssenyonyi to the 1st Respondent/EC for
nominations as a contestant for the said constituency. That upon perusal of the
said documents, I discovered that the 2nd respondent's names on the nomination
documents differed from the name on his academic documents," reads the
amended petition in part.
According to the records before the court, during
his ordinary and advanced levels of education, the legislator passed off as Joel
Basekezi. He, however, explains that he was nominated as Ssenyonyi B. Joel to
run for election as a Member of Parliament.
Mukesh further alleges that when he wrote to
the Uganda National Examinations Board to verify his rival’s academic
documents, he discovered that the school campus on his pass slip did not exist
according to the year indicated. The schools in contention and St Lawrence
Schools and Colleges Crown City Campus.
"That I verily believe that the 2nd
respondent/Ssenyonyi committed illegal practices contrary to sections 68 and 72
of the Parliamentary Elections in connection with the said election personally,
or by his agents with his knowledge and consent and approval.
Mukesh through his lawyers wants the court to
declare that Electoral Commission and Ssenyonyi contravened both the law and
good principles needed in a thriving democracy.
He wants the court to nullify
Ssenyonyi’s victory and order fresh elections in Nakawa Division West
Constituency. Lawyers from Ssemwanga, Muwazi and Company
Advocates and Bwango Araali and Company Advocates are representing the
Ssenyonyi’s lawyers led by Musisi told the court that they will seek
dismissal of the application when the hearing of election petitions resume,
arguing that it was filed out of time. Musisi, who admitted discrepancies in
Ssenyonyi’s academic documents said that their client has since sworn an
affidavit showing that the person who was nominated and Basekezi Joel is the