Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss Suleiman Kidandala’s appeal challenging the victory o of Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya.
Last year in January, the Electoral Commission declared Ssegirinya, the winner of Kawempe North Constituency with 41,197 votes against his closet challenger Kidandala who had 7,512 votes.
Kidandala decided to petition the High Court on grounds that he lacked academic qualifications to be in Parliament and that he was not a registered voter in Kawempe North, but in September, the High Court Judge Henrietta Wolayo dismissed Kidandala’s application saying that Ssegirinya was never properly served as required by law.
Wolayo said that the petition was redundant and accordingly ordered each party to bear its own costs.
Kidandala through his lawyers of Alaka and Company Advocates appealed against the decision that upheld Ssegirinya’s victory and asked the Court of Appeal to overturn it.
According to the application filed by the Electoral Commission’s head of Litigation Eric Sabiiti on Thursday, they want the notice of appeal struck out with costs on grounds that Kidandala after filing the notice, did not file a memorandum of appeal which is supposed to state to the court the reasons as to why he is challenging the decision.
The Commission also argues that Kidandala failed to take an essential step in the institution and prosecution of his intended appeal and as such, there is no appeal on-court record.
According to the supporting affidavit of the Electoral Commission Senior Legal Officer Jude Mwassa, Kidandala after filing his notice of appeal on September 8, 2021, ought to have filed the memorandum of appeal by September 22nd, 2021, and the record of Appeal by October 22nd, 2021.
“That the respondent/Kidandala, having filed the said notice of appeal did not file a memorandum of appeal and record of Appeal in this honorable Court”, reads Mwassa’s affidavit.
In the interest of justice, the Electoral Commission wants the notice to be struck out with costs.
Sabiiti said that Ssegirinya’s election matter is not the only one that they want to be struck off for non-compliance with the rules governing the election appeals. According to Sabiiti they have filed ten similar applications in the appeal.
They include Lydia Wanyoto Mutende’s appeal against Connie Nakayenze Galiwango as Mbale City Woman MP, Anthony Tumwesigye appeal against Reuben Arinaitwe as Isingiro West MP, David Abala against Juliet Achayo Lodou as Ngora County MP, and Dr. Protazion Begumis’s appeal against the election of Wilfred Nuwagaba as the MP for Ndorwa East Constituency in Kabale District among others.
Asked why they did not file a memorandum of appeal Kidandala’s lawyer Kenneth Kakande indicated that they filed it but efforts for them to be acknowledged by the court were futile despite their four letters to the Court of Appeal Registrar.
The applications by Electoral Commission have come at the time when the Court of Appeal has fixed next week to conduct conferencing of more than 90 election matters before they can be sent to panels of three Justices for hearing.