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Court set to hear unresolved 2016 election petitions

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Court of Appeal has fixed hearing of election appeals arising from the 2016 general and subsequent by-elections alongside other 40 civil appeals which will be handled in a two-weeks session starting on November 30th, 2020.

According to a communication from the judiciary, the session will be handled by Justices Catherine Bamugemereire, Stephen Musota and Muzamiru M. Kibeedi.

The court’s acting assistant registrar, Mary Babirye says the Justices have dedicated the first two days of the session to handle the remaining election petition appeals.

“All the matters to be handled on Monday and Tuesday are election-related matters that were filed much later, the prime of which arose from the recent by-elections,” says Babirye adding that they had to fast-track election matters due to their urgency much as the court usually follows the principle of first in, first out.

Among the cases to be handled is that of Lubaga South Member of Parliament Paul Kato Lubwama who seeks to overturn the ruling of the High Court which allowed Habib Buwembo to file an election petition against Lubwama out of the stipulated time of 30 days after gazetting the results.

Following the court’s verdict, MP Lubwama sought leave of Court of Appeal to appeal the trial judge’s verdict. Leave was granted two months ago hence the present appeal.

In another appeal, Herbert Kinobere, the Kibuku county MP is appealing the decision of the Mbale High Court which had nullified his victory in 2016 over lack of requisite qualifications. Kinobere has enjoyed a nice stay in the house due to the Court of Appeal’s delay to dispose of the matter.

Legislator Paul Mwiru is also appealing the decision of the National Council for Higher Education for unlawful cancellation of his academic papers.

Articles 140 and 104 of the Constitution require the Judiciary to expeditiously hear and determine electoral petitions and may for that purpose suspend any other matter pending before it disposes off such petitions.

In April 2016, the then Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine said the Judiciary had allocated the first six months to handle election petitions arising from the February 2016 polls. However, this wasn’t the case as over 10 petitions were pending disposal by 2018 and some of which have never been determined as another general election draws close.

Meanwhile, another team of Justices, Elizabeth Musoke, Hellen Obura and Remmy Kasule are heading to Lira come December 14th where they will hear another 40 Criminal Appeals before Christmas sets in.

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