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‘Electoral commission was duped to approve NUP formation’

Moses Kibalama Nkonge testifying in court yesterday

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Court has been told that the Electoral Commission was duped to approve minutes and resolutions indicating that a delegates conference had been conducted and Robert Kyagulanyi elected as the new leader of National Unity Platform (NUP).

Paul Simbwa, the former secretary-general of National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party-NURP said this as he was being cross-examined before the High Court Civil Division on how the party leadership changed hands from its former leader Moses Kibalama Nkonge to Kyagulanyi.

Simbwa was appearing before Justice Musa Ssekaana, the deputy head of the civil division of High Court in a case filed by two members of NURP, Difas Basile and Hassan Twaha who were aggrieved by the said transfer of ownership and change of names.

Simbwa told the court that he and Kibalama forged minutes and resolutions approving Kyagulanyi and his current leadership.

The court heard that there was no National Delegates Conference held to facilitate the process although it was a prerequisite for the party to change its leadership, name and symbols.

He said that instead, he Kibalama, Kyagulanyi and Winston Kigozi, the treasurer of NURP, sat in Kakiri, Wakiso district and forged the delegates conference minutes for submission to the Electoral Commission for approval.

Simbwa told the court that they had limited time to make changes as the electoral process was coming closer.

VIDEO OF THE CROSS-EXAMINATION

He added that they had verbally agreed that “when things come out properly,” they would be given USD 5 million (18 billion Uganda shillings).

He added that the group also agreed that some of the leadership positions would be left for the founding members of the NURP, which however was not done.

The judge however got angry with the witness at one point, complaining that he was making contradictory statements. “Do not talk that rubbish here.  do not think we are all fools. Go and say that in your Bufundas somewhere, “said Ssekaana charged. ( see video)

Sseggona grills Simbwa

During cross-examination, NUP lawyer Medard Lubega Sseggona asked Simbwa if he knew the political implication of submitting false returns to the Electoral Commission.

Sseggona also asked Simbwa to explain why he did not ask the Electoral Commission to intervene and resolve their grievances.

Simbwa said that he never wanted to involve the Electoral Commission because he knew that he was part of the group that forged the minutes and decided to keep the grievances he described as irreconcilable to be internal.

Earlier on, the court heard from Kibalama who was tasked to explain why he swore two affidavits with several inconsistencies, on the same day.  In one affidavit Kibalama was saying the changes made in NUP were done following the party rules, and was signed at a later time, while in the other, he disputed the same statements, but signed earlier that the first.

Kibalama said in the first affidavit, he had been approached by the lawyers from Wameli and company Advocates who gave him documents to sign without giving him time to read through and comprehend what he was signing. Subsequently, Kibalama consulted his lawyers who advised him that he had erred.

At one point, Kibalama was asked to tell the court the name of his lawyer but only pointed at him citing that he was given to him by a friend identified as Prosper when he was recently under state protection in Mbale district.

Kibalama cries

In the court, Kibalama kept taking medication at one time, laughing and moments later crying during the proceedings.

Kibalama later told the court his concern with the current leadership of NUP, was that they sidelined him and his members as soon as they took over his party.

But Electoral Commission lawyer Eric Sabiiti asked Kibalama why he didn’t make use of the National Consultative Forum to be guided after being aggrieved by the actions of the current leadership. Subsequently, Sabiiti asked the court to make recommendations to the DPP to institute criminal proceedings against Kibalama.

In the same proceedings, Kibalama disowned a video that went viral on social media in which he was captured saying that he was promised USD 5 million to sell his party to Kyagulanyi. He said that political parties were not for sale.

Presiding judge Musa Ssekaana ordered the parties to make written submissions by October 6 to enable him to make his judgment in the matter on October 16 2020.

Bobi Wine makes accusations

The current leader of NUP Robert Kyagulanyi ‘Bobi Wine’ talked to the press after the court session, claiming that Kibalama had been tortured.

“He is clearly under detention and he is not expressing his free will, ” he said, adding, “I want to ask all of you peace loving Ugandans. Pray for Kibalama. Those who can demand for his freedom. I told him to be strong, because he is a situation I was in when in detition in Arua. Unfortunately we do not have the same strength levels. Do not castigate him but pray for him, and demand for his freedom,” he told URN.

Kibalama however later in the day called a press conference, and denied Bobi Wine’s allegations that he had been tortured. He was photographed at the briefing at Mosa Courts having a beer (click to see photo).

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UDPF) spokesman also denied what Kibalama had told court earlier about his meeting with the CDF Gen David Muhoozi.

It was a dramatic conclusion to the day.

It had all started early, when Judge Ssekaana had temporarily stopped the hearing of the case.

The proceedings were halted temporarily after the rowdy supporters of the NUP Principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu stormed the court in big numbers demanding to attend the session. But the courtroom was locked by counter-terrorism police officers to block the hundreds of NUP supporters from joining the session.

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URN

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