Court sets date for review in Mukono South petition

This matter is before the Court of Appeal for the second time. Earlier, Justice Olive Kazaarwe dismissed the petition without hearing its merits.

MUKONO, UGANDA: The Court of Appeal in Kampala has set May 29, to review a judgment that confirmed Fred Kayondo as a duly elected Member of Parliament for Mukono South constituency.

Wilson Male, the Former National Unity Platform Candidate for the seat appealed against a decision of the High Court in Mukono challenging a judgment by Justice Collins Accellam which dismissed his prior application to overturn the outcome of the polls.

Kayondo, a member of the Democratic Party-DP was declared winner of the election held in January 2021 with a tally of 26,512 votes against Male’s 4,831 votes. But Male challenged the process and its outcome saying that Kayondo was nominated on an invalid paper, and hoodwinked voters by using colors, symbols, and slogans of the National Unity Platform during his campaigns.

He also accused the Electoral Commission of failing to conduct elections under the principles laid down by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Elections Act, delivering fewer ballot papers at three polling stations of Kibazo, Ntanzi, and Ntove and looking on while his challenger engaged in bribing voters.

But Justice Accellam dismissed the petition on the grounds that Male was empowered to carry out an inspection of the nomination papers for the respondent on nomination day or close to nomination day but waited for him to contest and win the election before complaining.

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Justice Acellam concluded that the petitioner did not provide any evidence to prove that the emblem, logo, and slogan used on Kayondo’s posters were registered symbols of the National Unity Platform to entail his political party to its exclusive use.

The judge added that the petitioner failed to demonstrate how allegations against EC’s non-compliance with the electoral laws affected the results of the elections.

“And even if this court were to believe that there were irregularities, there is nothing that this court would depend on to find that the respondent was credited with votes he was not entitled to and that if such votes were subtracted from those that were credited to him, he would not have won the elections,” read the judgment.

However, Male through his lawyers of LMN advocates contends that the trial judge erred in the law and fact when he held that the respondent was duly nominated and that he had to challenge the respondent’s nomination before the Electoral Commission.

Male raises eight grounds upon which he stands to request the Court of Appeal to set aside the trial court judgment, declare him the winner of the 2021 elections, or advise the Electoral Commission-EC to conduct fresh elections. He is also seeking costs for both court processes.

This matter is before the Court of Appeal for the second time. Earlier, Justice Olive Kazaarwe dismissed the petition without hearing its merits.

Male appealed against the decision on grounds that the judge erred in law and fact when she held that his petition was incompetent and incurably defective.

Kazaarwe was also faulted for having underlooked and cordoned Kayondo’s defective pleadings and failure to consider Male’s submissions.

Last year, the Court of Appeal Justices Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Gashirabake ordered for fresh hearing of the petition on grounds the Judge erred when she dismissed the petition for having defective affidavits, yet she allowed the same from Kayondo and the Electoral Commission.

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