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Court rejects Abdul Katuntu’s witnesses over inconsistencies

Petitioner Julius Galisonga (R) with his lawyer Ivan Wanume at Jinja high court. URN phoo

Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Jinja has rejected three witnesses that have been presented by Bugweri county Member of Parliament Abdul Katuntu, for cross-examination in an election petition filed against him by his challenger Julius Galisonga.

Galisonga, a candidate of the Forum for Democratic change-FDC party petitioned the court challenging Katuntu’s declaration as the elected Member of Parliament for Bugweri County citing malpractices in the January 2021 general election. He accused Katuntu of conniving with the Electoral Commission to frustrate rightful procedures of fairness during the execution of various activities throughout the election cycle.

During cross-examination, the presiding judge Susan Abinyo summoned Katuntu’s witnesses who comprised of Twaha Wampaka, Samanya Sale and Fred Bakuseka. However, Galisonga’s lawyer John Isabirye argued that much as the certificates of translation presented before the court by the said witnesses were presided over by a translator identified as Ronald Kitandwe and signed by a reputable commissioner of oath, they had inconsistencies which would discredit their evidence before the court.

Isabirye further stated that the same translation certificates identified the witnesses as women, yet all the three presented before court were men. Justice Abinyo ruled to expunge the witnesses’ evidence from the court record over the respondent’s failure to adhere to the rightful procedures while addressing their case before the court.

Meanwhile Katuntu’s lawyer, Medard Ssegona told journalists that the development will not affect his client because the burden of proof is upon the petitioner and not the respondent. The same court dismissed 10 affidavits filed by Abdul Katuntu defending his election as the Bugweri county MP on grounds that they were filed outside the stipulated time.

At the time, Galisonga’s lawyer John Isabirye explained that although they filed their petition on March 24, 2021, Katuntu’s team filed their response on June 6, 2021, and noted that it was inappropriate for the respondents to file supplementary affidavits three months later.

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