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Galisonga appeals against election petition ruling

Julius Galisonga (L) and his lawyer Ivan Wanume (R) arrive at Jinja High Court. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The loser of the Bugweri County parliamentary elections Julius Galisonga, has appealed the dismissal of his election petition against the incumbent MP Abdul Katuntu.

The Electoral Commission declared Katuntu the winner with 17,813 votes against Galisonga’s 9,074 votes. Daniel Joseph Ibaale of the National Resistance Movement got 3,141 votes.

However, Galisonga petitioned Jinja High Court accusing Katuntu of allegedly orchestrating electoral irregularities, which affected the outcome of the Bugweri county parliamentary poll results. 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.

Last month, Lady Justice Susan Abinyo dismissed Galisonga’s petition with costs and upheld the victory of Katuntu as the duly elected Bugweri County MP.

The Judge ruled that Galisonga lacked sufficient evidence to pin Katuntu over the allegations he had levied against him. and that although there was violence in the election process, it did not affect the final results substantially.

Galisonga has now appealed challenging Abinyo’s judgement raising nine grounds.

Galisonga contends that the learned trial Judge erred in law and fact when she found that there were illegal acts of violence and interference with his electioneering activities, but that the said offences did not affect the results of the election in a substantial manner.

“That the learned trial Judge erred in law and fact when she required that on top of proving the illegal act and/or electoral offence of interference with electioneering activities at Idudi, the Appellant/Galisonga had to prove that such interference affected and/or prevented the election of the Appellant as a Candidate”, reads the appeal in part.

Justice Abinyo is also faulted for having failed to evaluate Galisonga’s evidence of the electoral offences of undue influence at Namamanvundu, defacing posters and making false statements hence concluding that the said electoral offences were not proved to the required standard.

According to the appeal, Justice Abinyo also erred when she wrongly exercised her judicial discretion in the circumstances of the case and awarded the certificate of two counsels and also relied on the affidavit evidence of Peter Obbo who was Galisonga’s first witness to conclude that his evidence was incredible.

Through his lawyers of Isabirye and Company Advocates and Naafi and Wanume Advocates, Galisonga wants the Judgement by Justice Abinyo reversed and set aside as well as the election of Katuntu as the Member of Parliament for Bugweri County constituency.

He also wants the court to order Katuntu and the Electoral Commission to pay the costs of his appeal and in the High Court.

Galiusonga’s appeal together with more than 50 other appeals arising out of the 2021 general elections and High Court decisions are yet to be fixed for hearing.

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