The High Court in Mubende has ordered the Electoral
Commission– EC to conduct a by-election for the Mityana District Woman Member of Parliament
seat, after nullifying the election of Joyce Bagala.
candidate of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) had been declared winner of the
January 14 polls with a margin of 16,000 votes to defeat Nabakooba. But,
Nabakooba filed a petition to challenge the outcome of the polls,
alleging that Bagala was not validly elected to represent Mityana
district in parliament.
the Electoral Commission of failing to secure conditions necessary for
the conduct of the election. She added that while registered voters were
threatened, and her agents intimidated, EC presiding officers connived
with Bagala and her agents to procure voting by unregistered persons,
facilitate impersonation of voters, and multiple voting.
also accused Bagala of bribing voters and 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.
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. The Judge faulted Bagala for not bringing Butebi to court,
to explain if he was giving out money on her behalf.
“Bagala was asked in
cross-examination about Butebi’s activities allegedly done on her behalf. Her
answer was that she did not know a businessman in Mityana called Butebi. She
however conceded that she knew the father of Hon. Francis Zaake, the area MP
whom she said was called Francis Sembusi.” the judge said.
He ruled that the response was an
attempt by Bagala to be evasive since the witnesses had variously identified
the individual in question as Francis Butebi Sembusi. He also relied on evidence
by one Tolophina Nakyagaba, a registered voter at Namyeso Primary School who
said that she received a bribe from MP Francis Zaake to persuade her to vote
The court ruled that the evidence
from all the said people confirmed that Francis Butebi Sembusi who bribed
voters was an Agent to Joyce Bagala given that all these witnesses identified
him as a person who was providing money to voters to vote in favor of Bagala,
and that the bribery of voters was carried out with the knowledge, consent, and
approval of the candidate.
“…the Petitioner has adduced
sufficient evidence to
prove that the second Respondent (Bagala) through her agents, with her
or consent and approval, committed the alleged Electoral Offence of
bribery,” Justice Emmanuel Baguma said, before ordering Bagala to pay legal costs incurred
by Ms. Nabakooba.
On the allegations of voting by unregistered voters, Justice Baguma held that Nabakooba proved her case on a balance of
probabilities to the satisfaction of the court. The court held that the polling assistants gave out
ballot papers to voters without verifying whether they were registered voters at
the Polling station.
He, however, ruled that the said non-compliance in the 11 polling stations did not affect the
results in a substantial manner. “I have considered this allegation of undue
influence and intimidation, and I find that the evidence is not sufficiently
credible to sustain the allegation thus it has not been proved to the
satisfaction of court upon a balance of probabilities,” Justice Baguma ruled.
Mityana Woman MP Joyce Bagala said
she would appeal against the decision.
“I am also sure that the judge also knows that I won
this election and the judge also knows that Nabakooba did not bring any piece
of evidence to the effect that I bribed voters or there was noncompliance,” she said.
//Cue in…it is very…
Cue out…ready to vote.'//
While Bagala pursues the appeal, Nabakooba said that she is now ready to go back
to the masses to claim her victory.