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Election Petition Against Bernard Mujasi Sent Back to Lower Court

Mujasis victory had been nullified by High Court Judge Margaret Oumo Oguli following an application filed by his political rival, Vincent Magombe, claiming that the polls were marred with vote rigging, voter intimidation and bribery.

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 The Court of Appeal has ordered for a fresh hearing of a case in which Mbale District Chairman Bernard Mujasi is accused of intimidating voters and vote rigging.

Mujasi's victory had been nullified by High Court Judge Margaret Oumo Oguli following an application filed by his political rival, Vincent Magombe, claiming that the polls were marred with vote rigging, voter intimidation and bribery.

Magombe equally accused Electoral Commission of swapping results from 19 polling stations in Mujasi's favour. He had also accused Mujasi of impersonation, claiming that he did not have the requisite academic documents to contest for the chairman's seat.

Magombe based the claim on discrepancies in Mujaasi's names on several of his official documents, among them, the education transcripts, the national voters register and the National Identity card.  According to the petitioner, the district chairman is registered as Mujasi Masaba Bernard on the national voter's register and nominated as Bernard Mujasi EM, yet his academic transcripts represent him as Bernard EW Mujasi Masaba.

Justice Oguli dismissed the charge of impersonation and vote rigging due to lack of substantial evidence. But she sustained the accusations on vote swapping, the basis of which she nullified Mujasi's victory and ordered for fresh elections. Mujasi had been declared the winner with 41, 659 votes against Magombe's 38,710 votes.

But, Magombe was not satisfied and filed an appeal challenging the High Court Judgment. He instead asked that court of appeal declares him the winner of the 2016 polls, without being subjected to a by-election.

His plea was this morning rejected by a panel comprising of Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo and Judges Cheborion Barishaki and Elizabeth Musoke. Instead, the matter was sent back to the lower court for retrial before a different judge, according to the judgment read by the Deputy Court of Appeal Registrar, Esther Nambayo.

The lower court has been asked to restrict itself to determining whether the irregular tallying of results at the District Tally Center affected the final results and determining which candidate, upon correction, of all the tallying errors obtained the highest number of votes.

Court also resolved that Magombe shall meet one-third of Mujasi's costs in the lower court as well as Court of Appeal, while Magombe and the Electoral Commission will meet their own costs in both courts.

Meanwhile, outside Court, Mujasi's supporters told Uganda Radio Network that their candidate's results were also swapped. Ahamada Washaki, the Press Assistant in the office of the NRM Chairman Mbale Districts, their lawyer Paul Musamali omitted this part of the evidence while submitting documents to the court.

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Magombe and Mujasi are both members of the ruling National Resistance Movement –Party. But while Mujasi contested as the official party candidate, Magombe contested as an independent candidate in the race. 

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