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MP Bagala Appeals in Mityana District Election Case

Bagala is equally challenging the decision. In her appeal, filed in the Court of Appeal, Bagala faults the High Court judge for holding that there was non-compliance with electoral laws and principles during the conduct of the elections for the woman MP for Mityana District in the 2021 general elections.
MP Bagala with her lawyer after court at Mubende 1
Mityana Woman Member of Parliament Joyce Bagala has appealed against a decision of the High Court that nullified her election.

Bagala, a candidate of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) had been declared winner of the January 2021 polls with a margin of 16,000 votes to defeat Nabakooba. But, her victory was challenged by Nabakooba on allegations that there was non-compliance with electoral processes at a number of polling stations during the polls.

Nabakooba accused the Electoral Commission of failing to secure conditions necessary for the conduct of the election and added that while her voters were threatened, and agents intimidated, EC presiding officers connived with Bagala and her agents to procure voting by unregistered persons, facilitate impersonation of voters, and encourage multiple voting.

Nabakooba added that at the time of vote counting, her valid votes were counted among the invalid votes and that on the basis of this, the results were affected in a substantial manner and as such, her victory was snatched. She also accused Bagala of bribing voters.

The charge of bribery was based on reports that Francis Butebi Ssembusi, a renowned businessman and father to Mityana municipality MP Francis Zaake gave 200,000 Shillings to Bonny Kalema, Annet Nakaggwa, Annet Alumaiya and Varitino Sebwarida and asked them to vote for Joyce Bagala.

Justice Emmanuel Baguma, presiding over the High Court in Mubende, nullified the election on October 2 and faulted Bagala for not bringing Butebi to court, to justify whether he was giving out money on her behalf. He equally held that Nabakooba proved her case on a balance of probabilities to the satisfaction of the court and that the polling assistants gave out ballot papers to voters without verifying whether they were registered voters at the Polling station.        

But Bagala is equally challenging the decision. In her appeal, filed in the Court of Appeal, Bagala faults the High Court judge for holding that there was non-compliance with electoral laws and principles during the conduct of the elections for the woman MP for Mityana District in the 2021 general elections.         

“The learned trial judge erred in law and fact when he held that on a balance of probabilities, the petitioner adduced sufficient evidence to prove that the second respondent through her agents with her knowledge or consent with her knowledge and or approval committed the alleged electoral offence of bribery,” reads the court document.     

Bagala further faulted the judge for holding that businessman Francis Butebi Sembusi and Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zake were her agents.  She argues that the judge failed to evaluate the evidence on record and ended up with a wrong conclusion that there was non-compliance with the electoral laws and principles during the conduct of the 2021 general elections.         

According to the documents in the Court of Appeal, Bagala faults the trial High Court judge for holding that Section 7(6) of the Presidential Elections Act does not prohibit election officers from giving evidence in election petitions and that lawyers did not adduce evidence to support the alleged lack of lawful authority by the officers to testify.            

The legislator, through her lawyers of Lukwago and Company Advocates, is now asking the Appellant Court to quash the High Court Judgement and decree and substitute it with an order confirming her victory.          

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