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Electoral Commission asks court to dismiss Fred Nyanzi’s petition

Fred Nyanzi is challenging Muhammad Nsereko’s victory. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has asked the court to dismiss an election petition challenging the victory of Muhammad Nsereko for the Kampala Central MP seat on grounds that Fred Nyanzi did not serve Nsereko with the election petition.

Nsereko was declared the winner with 16,998 votes while Nyanzi from the National Unity Platform came second with 15,975 votes.

Nyanzi challenged Nsereko’s victory citing alleged failure by the EC to ensure that the tallying is done per electoral laws, the failure by the presiding officers to submit results from seven polling stations, and inconsistencies in the number of votes presented on the declaration of result forms among others.

On Monday, Nsereko’s lawyers led by Robert Bautu told the court that their client had not been served with the election petition. Bautu said that Nsereko instructed them to come to court because he had learnt through media that his name was being mentioned in a case. Bautu further said that they had also received a notice of court inviting them to come for scheduling of a case.

Eric Sabiti, the EC lawyer told court that the petition can be dissolved since Nsereko wasn’t served. He said to hear a case in the absence of a respondent who has not been served would be against the principle of natural justice.

Nyanzi’s lawyer Justin Ssemuyaba insisted in court that Nsereko had been served but declined to receive the petition.

Nyanzi’s lawyers had previously told the court that Nsereko refused to receive the petition, and asked that they serve him through newspapers but the court rejected their plea.

They swore affidavits of service and filed them before the court as proof that they served Nsereko but he declined to receive them.

Justice Apiny directed Electoral Commission to file written submissions of not more than five pages raising the Point of Law and serve Nyanzi not later than Wednesday 25th August 2021.

She further directed that Nyanzi files and serves his response by August 27 and that any rejoinders be filed and served by 30th August 2021.

Outside court, Nyanzi accused the EC of frustrating the case after they filed their defence.

Last week, EC also asked the court to dismiss a petition challenging the election of Muhammad Segirinya as the MP for Kawempe North.

At the time Suleiman Kidandala filed the petition, Segirinya had been arrested and remanded to Kitalya for holding an unlawful assembly.

Although the electoral commission and Segirinya say he was never served with the petition, Kidandala’s lawyers led by Fed Kato swore an affidavit of service saying that he served Segirinya while in Kitalya but he declined to sign the papers.

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