KAMPALA, UGANDA: The High Court in Kampala has issued a warrant of arrest against the former contestant for Nakawa West Constituency seat Mukesh Shukla Babubhai for failing to pay costs.
The warrant was issued on Wednesday by the Civil Division Registrar Jameson Karemani following an application by Mukesh’s rival and Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi, who is demanding costs of more than 73 million shillings arising from an election petition that was filed against him.
“This is to direct you to arrest and bring the judgment debtor before this court with all convenience and speed unless the said sum is paid” reads the warrant issued by Karemani.
It adds that, “you are further commanded to return this warrant by August 30th, 2022 with an endorsement certifying the day on which and the manner in which it has been executed or the reason why it has not been executed.”
According to Karemani, every officer of the Uganda Police Force is directed to ensure that the arrest is done in a peaceful and lawful manner.
The warrant was given to Ahumuza Hillary/TA Hillary Ojuku and Associates, the bailiffs hired by Ssenyonyi to execute the order.
Mukesh’s troubles started when he challenged the victory of Ssenyonyi before the High Court in Kampala after losing the Nakawa West Parliamentary elections on January 14th, 2021.
Ssenyonyi, who ran on the National Unity Platform-NUP ticket won the polls with 30,847 votes. Mukesh came sixth after polling 806 votes.
But Mukesh was dissatisfied with the results and petitioned the court accusing Ssenyonyi of committing several electoral offenses such as ballot stuffing and failing to sign the declaration of results forms with support from the Electoral Commission.
He accused Ssenyonyi of stuffing ballots at 8 polling stations where he got 81 instead of 58 votes. However, in October 2021, High Court Judge Isaac Muwata dismissed the petition with an order that Mukesh should pay costs to Ssenyonyi for lack of sufficient evidence to support his allegations, which forced him to appeal against the decision.
But the Court of Appeal in March 2022 comprised of Justices Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Gashirabake confirmed the High Court decision and dismissed Mukesh’s appeal on grounds that it was filed out of 14 days stipulated time within which to file election matters.
Ssenyonyi through his lawyers led by George Musisi then filed an application in the High Court seeking costs.
Before issuing the warrant of arrest, Karemani had summoned Mukesh to appear in court on Tuesday to show cause why he should not be jailed for failing to pay costs.
But his lawyer Badru Bwango said that they were served late with the notice and were given up to Wednesday to respond. However, another lawyer turned up without Mukesh.
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