High Court dismisses Nyanzi’s petition challenging Nsereko’s victory

Nyanzi sued the Electoral Commission, the Kampala returning officer, and Nsereko in March 2021 citing electoral irregularities including voter bribery.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: High Court has dismissed with costs an election petition filed by Fred Nyanzi of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in which he challenged the Muhammad Nsereko’s victory as duly-elected Member of Parliament for Kampala Central Division.

Delivering his ruling on Monday, the High Court Judge His Lordship Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema dismissed the petition citing lack of evidence from the complainant to sustain the alleged electoral offences during the January 14th, 2021 elections.

The judge reasoned that there were no witnesses brought by Nyanzi to pin Nsereko on election harassment and ballot stuffing by the military, and did not give compelling reasons for the recount of votes.

He further noted that Nyanzi had presented a flash disk with contents he called his evidence, but the contents were in a vernacular not known in court. He also said that Nyanzi should have accompanied the flash disk with an English script or English transcribed recording, which he did not.

“In the premises, I find that the commission to accompany the flash disk with a transcription of the recording and translation into English definitely affected its admissibility and its relevancy /evidential value since its contents cannot be comprehended and be used by Court,” he said.

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The Court also found that the person who brought the flash disk, Habert Nuwamanya, did not appear in court to offer evidence and substantiate the contents. This created doubt as to whether he was the one who actually recorded the contents on the flash, in what location, function, and on what particular date.

The Court also found that the evidence of some of the witnesses Nyanzi assembled, such as Hamza Lubega, were self-confessed criminals who admitted to committing many crimes, including murder, as long as they could be paid. Lubega had admitted to forging documents from Nasser Road, his own national identity cards, among others. Therefore, the Judge rejected his evidence.

“…. during cross-examination, PW2(Lubega) came out as both a joker and a self-confessed criminal who has enjoyed immunity from arrest and possible prosecution. He referred to himself as a ‘problem creator’, in the city who does not have a National Identity card but that he possessed a forged Refugee identity card printed from Nasser wherein he is described as a student,” said Justice Byaruhanga.

Shortly after the court ruling, Hon Nsereko thanked his voters for standing with him, adding that he will continue to serve the people of Kampala.

“We have gone through a vigorous process but justice has been served. This really assures us the decision that was made by the lower court but ultimately. We thank God. For those who have lost today, hope is not over and if you want to serve the people of Kampala go to them, probably they will vote for you,” he said.

In 2021, the Electoral Commission declared Nsereko as the winner of the Kampala Central MP seat with 16,998 votes against Nyanzi’s 15,975 votes.

However, Nyanzi, dissatisfied with the results challenged Nsereko’s victory citing the alleged failure by the EC to ensure that the tallying is done per Electoral laws, the failure by the presiding officers to submit results from seven polling stations, and inconsistencies in the number of votes presented on the declaration of result forms, among others.

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