Court dismisses Kidandala’s petition challenging MP Ssegirinya’s victory

Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya taking oath in May this year (Photo/File)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The High Court in Kampala has dismissed a petition in which the loser of Kawempe North parliamentary race, Sulaiman Kidandala was challenging Muhammad Ssegirinya’s election victory as the constituency member of Parliament.

Kidandala who polled 7,512 votes in the Kawempe North polls against Ssegirinya’s 41,197 votes dragged the latter to court seeking nullification of his victory citing lack of requisite academic qualifications.

However, Electoral Commission which was listed as a respondent filed an application asking court to dismiss the petition since Ssegirinya had not been served with the petition.

Kidandala’s lawyers insisted that when they took the petition to Kitalya prison where Ssegirinya was incarcerated, he refused to receive the documents but insisted they had served him.

Presiding over the hearing on Tuesday last week, lady justice Henrietta Wolayo dismissed the application on grounds that court should not be used to fish evidence in support of their case.

She explained that by the time a party goes to court, they must have evidence in support of their case but not to use the courts to gather evidence as it would not be impartial.

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“The OC of Kitalya prison had to endorse the petition to prove that he had been served( on behalf of Ssegirinya),” Justice Wolayo said in a ruling read by the court’s deputy registrar, Agnes Alum.

The judge explained that the order of substituted service meant that Kidandala’s lawyers had to served Ssegirinya personal while in prison or if not, through the officer in charge of the prison who had to endorse receipt of the petition but also pin a notice on the court’s notice board.

Wolayo however noted that despite a notice being put on the court’s notice board, Ssegirinya who was in prison was never served.

“This means there was ineffective service. Having found the petition redundant and non-starter for lack of service, it is struck off the record,” she said.

The development means that Ssegirinya is the duly elected Member of Parliament for Kawempe North Constituency.

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