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High court rejects public documents as exhibits against Idah Nantaba

Kayunga Woman MP Idah Nantaba PHOTO: @Parliament_Ug

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Mukono has rejected documents presented by One Ritah Nabadda to justify bribery accusations against Kayunga Woman MP Idah Nantaba during the 2021 general election.

Nantaba, an independent candidate garnered 47,725 votes to defeat six other candidates; Jackline Birungi Kobusingye, Margaret Nabirye, Nakaddu Brenda, Harriet Nakweede, Agatha Nalubwama and Lydia Wabuza in the race. Her closest challenger Harriet Nakweede had 37,117 votes.

But Nabadda, a concerned citizen who did not participate in the race was dissatisfied with the election results and petitioned Mukono High Court challenging Nantaba’s election on allegations of voter bribery. She says that Nantaba was involved in the distribution of food and other items in the run-up to the general election.

Nabadda had presented before the court copies of letters from the office of the Chief Administrative Officer, the District National Resistance Movement Chairperson and the Galiraya LCIII Chairperson confirming that the government had not dispatched any consignment in form of food relief to the people of Galiraya Sub County which Nantaba alludes to have delivered during the campaign period.

However, Nantaba’s Lawyer Ambrose Tebyasa raised a preliminary objection against the public documents supporting the petitioner’s affidavits saying that they did not have a single indicator that they were addressed to the petitioner. Tebyasa informed the court presided over by Justice Collins Accellam that the petitioner is not the competent witness to present such documents before the court.

The Petitioner’s Lawyers Gregory Byamukama and Kevin Amujong insisted that the documents be admitted as exhibits since they were written by public officers confirming that the district did not receive any food consignment from the government during that period.

But Justice Accellam ruled that they can only be admitted as an identification but not exhibits since the petitioner lacked any connection to them because they were not addressed to her and she never participated in their authorship.

Tebyasa challenged the petitioner to admit that there are other letters attached to the respondent’s affidavits from the Permanent Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister, Rose Nakabugo and another from the Kayunga Chief Administrative Officer Roseline Adongo confirming the dispatch and receipt of food consignments. Nabadda insisted that the information was contradictory.

During the questioning, Nabadda also admitted that she was a campaigning agent of Jackline Birungi, who confirmed to the same court during another election petition that she is a daughter to the District NRM Chairperson, Moses Karisa Karangwa, an arch-rival to Nantaba but denied being sponsored by Karangwa to run the petition when asked by the respondent’s lawyer.

Outside the court, Nabadda told URN that despite rejecting the public documents, there is still more evidence on file to challenge Nantaba’s victory.

Her Lawyer, Amjong also notes that they still have enough credible evidence presented before the court to determine the matter.

Nantaba told URN that from the cross-examination before the court, she realised that her challenger is just being fronted by his political rivals in Kayunga to waste her time and other resources such as money.

Justice Accellam adjourned the matter to December 12, where more witnesses shall be examined including the former Bbaale County Member of Parliament, George Wilson Nsamba Kumama.

In June this year, a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices comprising Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Christopher Gashirabake ordered a fresh hearing of this matter after setting aside the decision by the Mukono High Court Judge Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya who had dismissed it on grounds of incompetence and lack of the supportive 500 signatures from registered voters in the district.

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