Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lady Justice Ketra Katunguuka has overturned the victory of Christine Nandagire Ndiwalana, as Bukomansimbi North Member of Parliament.
She delivered the verdict at Masaka High Court in her ruling on an election petition filed by Nandagire’s National Resistance Movement-NRM rival, Ruth Katushabe, the first runner up in the four candidate’s race.
Katushabe dragged Nandagire to court for lack of the required academic qualifications.
In her application, Katushabe argued that the Electoral Commission nominated her rival basing on the non-existent Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education-UACE certificate, which she purportedly obtained in 1997 yet she never enrolled for A level.
She argued that while Nandagire attended a Nursing and Midwifery course, she duped the Electoral Commission with an uncertified Advanced level certificate she claimed to have obtained from Uganda National Examinations Board-UNEB.
Katushabe also argued that although Nandigire attended ordinary secondary education level, her admission to senior one was invalid because she had failed Primary Leaving Examinations-PLE, and did not qualify for admission to secondary.
She also told the court that besides having questionable academic papers, Nandagire has variations in the names on her academic papers, which cast doubt on her true identity and authenticity of the qualification papers.
Through her lawyer, Godfrey Kandeebe, Katushabe sought the court to nullify the election and declare her winner arguing that the respondent was irregularly nominated.
In her defence, Nandagire, who ran on the National Unity Platform-NUP party ticket told the court that she presented a certificate of Nursing and Midwifery Course from St Francis Hospital Nsambya, that was dully verified as an equivalent of Advanced level of education.
She however contradicted herself in one of her affidavits, saying that she sat for Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education-UACE in 1998, which she couldn’t substantiate with certified certificates from UNEB.
The Bukomansimbi district Electoral Commission Returning Officer, Easter Asiimwe complicated the matters when she told the court that Nandigire was nominated based on minimum academic qualifications of a Senior six certificate, which she failed to present before the court.
In her ruling, Lady Justice Ketra Katunguuka cited inconsistencies in Nandagire’s academic papers and eventual nomination. She overturned her victory on grounds that she did not qualify for election as a member of parliament.
Court held that Nandagire lied on oaths about the details of her academic papers and that even when given the opportunity, she failed to present certified original copies of her alleged Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education or Certificate of Nursing and Midwifery.
The judge ruled that the much Nandagire could present before the court was an equivalent of Senior six certificate of enrolment into a Nursing school obtained in 1995, which expires every after five years.
The court ruled that Nandagire fell short on the principles of trust and credibility and ordered fresh nominations and a by-election in the Bukomansimbi North constituency.
Nandagire who spoke to her lawyers at Masaka High Court shortly after the ruling indicated that she was considering an appeal arguing that the court based its decision on mere technicalities, which she says does not make her less educated for the position of MP.