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Court dismisses petition against Ssegirinya

Muhammad Ssegirinya

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Kampala has dismissed an election petition filed against Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya on grounds that he was not effectively served by his rival Sulaiman Kidandala.

Kidandala’s lawyers of Alaka and Company Advocates filed the petition against the legislator accusing him of lack of academic qualifications to be in Parliament.

However, they couldn’t trace Ssegirinya who was in prison, to serve him with the copy of the petition. As a result, they filed an application before the High Court Judge Emmanuel Baguma for substituted service.

Justice Baguma directed them to serve Ssegirinya from prison and that the service is witnessed by the Officer in Charge of Kitalya Government’s Prison.

The Judge also directed them to pin a copy of the petition on its notice board.

However, Kidandala’s lawyers led by Fred Kato returned an affidavit of service saying that when he went to prison neither Ssegirinya nor the officer in charge of the Prisons accepted to acknowledge receipt of the documents.

As a result, the Electoral Commission’s lawyer Eric Sabiiti filed an application seeking to dismiss the entire petition on grounds that Ssegirinya was not effectively served.

Sabiiti relied on an affidavit sworn by Felix Mugiya the Deputy officer in charge of Kitalya Government’s Prison who denied ever being served.

In her ruling the Lady Justice Henrietta Wolayo has dismissed the petition saying that Ssegirinya was not effectively served and that the orders of Justice Baguma ought to be complied with fully which was not the case.

According to Wolayo, Ssegirinya’s lawyers had to go and serve him through the OC of Kitalya and then another copy put on the Court notice board. But instead, according to Wolayo , Kidandala’s lawyers  were intent at serving Ssegirinya as a person not through the Officer in Charge of Kitalya as directed by  Justice Baguma.

She added that the orders of court are not supposed to be taken lightly by choosing which one to comply with and which one not to.

Wolayo termed Kidandala’s petition redundant and accordingly struck it out from the court record with orders that each party bears its own costs.

The ruling has been delivered in open court by Civil Division Assistant Registrar Agnes Alum on behalf of the Judge whom she said was engaged in a plea bargaining meeting.

Speaking to URN, Kidandala lawyers led by Paul Kenneth Kakande have said that they are going to appeal against the decision.

Eric Sabiiti, the Lawyer of the Electoral Commission said people of Kawempe should now celebrate that Ssegirinya is now their rightfully elected Member of Parliament. He hailed the judge for the ruling saying it was the only logical conclusion that any court should have arrived at.

Kidandala who was the runner up in an election that attracted nine other candidates, argued that Ssegirinya’s nomination papers were invalid because he did not have the requisite academic qualifications to contest for a parliamentary seat.

The law requires all persons contesting for a parliamentary seat to have A-level or its equivalent.

But according to Kidandala’s petition, the O’level and A’level academic documents that Ssegirinya presented to the Electoral Commission were forged, which constitutes a crime under the Parliamentary Election Act.

He had also alleged that Ssegirinya’s nomination was not accompanied by the names and signatures of a minimum of ten persons who are registered voters in the Kawempe North constituency, as required by the law.

Through his lawyers Kidandala explained that  Ssegirinya’s nomination papers were not signed and countersigned in accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act.

He also indicated that Ssegirinya was never a registered voter of Kawempe North or anywhere in Uganda.  This was because, by the time he officially changed his name from Richard to Muhammad Ssegirinya, the Electoral Commission had already finished updating the voter register.

The records also indicate that Ssegirinya gazetted his deed poll to change his name on October 13, 2020, one year after the closure of the update of the voter register.

Ssegirinya of the National Unity Platform defeated nine other candidates when he scored 41,197 votes against his closest challenger Kidandala who had 7,512 votes.

*****

URN

2 comments

  1. on 11th April 1979, at tender age, in sleeveless red gowns, we jumped over “human beings lying still” regrettable indeed, but there was something important the need to proclaim, “no more suffering”, “no more nasomawa”

    Little did we know that in the sunset of our lives, we would swallow some of those words bit by bit this time round that status being enforced by those who have seen many books!

    To add insult to injury one may be a resident, who with a walking stick and cracking bones, made it a point to walk to the polling station and used a thumb to elect one you believed would articulate your wishes

    Karel and Josef Capek, wow you had a great piece

  2. Some one calls it being gullible on part of the electorate, not so fast, may be the numbers reflected

    another angle, they had no reason to believe that an established institution would allow any one whose

    qualifications fall short of the cut off to participate in an exercise of National interest; there are many

    residents in the setting, with genuine documents

    It is the current state of affairs that makes some gullible, on NBS. a government official described the

    gentleman as one who came to Kampala to hustle, and this alone exonerates those you consider gullible

    Truth be said there is a beneficially in this activity

    Suppose I sanitize the intention to be an experiment, and the brain behind it ” a principal investigator”

    The study area has a lot of problems, predominantly social determinants of health, that need to be

    solved, instead you have ensured that residents get more psychological burden, to walk crest fallen or

    choose not to give the right address

    Your intervention can be summed up as an observation for a period of five years

    But who has consented on our behalf?

    I pray that you will publish your findings and roll out this exercise to other regions of the country. Short of

    these it becomes one of the several Tuskegee of this region

    Psalm 34: 17-20

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