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Judge directs on Nabakooba, Bagala battle for Mityana Woman MP seat

Mityana District Woman MP Joyce Bagala accompanied by Busujju County MP David Lukyamuzi at court in Mubende. URN photo

Mubende, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Mubende has directed Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba and her political rival Joyce Bagala to file issues that form the basis of their election petition for a speedy hearing.

Bagala won the January 14 polls with a margin of 16,000 votes to defeat Nabakooba. But in March, Nabakooba filed a petition to challenge the outcome of the polls, alleging that Bagala was not validly elected to represent Mityana district in Parliament, on grounds that the Electoral Commission failed to secure conditions necessary for the conduct of the election.

Nabakooba, the candidate for the ruling NRM alleges that while registered voters were threatened, and her agents intimidated, EC presiding officers connived with Bagala and her agents to procure voting by unregistered persons, facilitate impersonation of voters and multiple voting. Nabakooba added that at the time of vote counting, her valid votes were counted among the invalid votes.

She argues that on the basis of this, the election was not conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution, the Parliamentary Elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act which affected the result in a substantial manner. But Bagala says that her rival has no legal grievance but simply nursing wounds of defeat.

She adds that the petition is incompetent because it does not disclose a case recognized by law and hence it should be struck out with costs. Bagala states that the alleged irregularities are figments of imagination, imperfectly cooked by Nabakooba to upset the will of the people of Mityana district.

Presiding Judge Emmanuel Baguma has now ordered them to file a joint scheduling memorandum which sets the issues to be determined by the court. He added that in compliance with the COVID-19 standard operating procedures-SOPs, the court shall not allow supporters of either side to access court premises.

“Because of COVID-19, we shall only allow lawyers and parties. No supporters and then with time, we shall allow the witnesses to come in for cross-examination,” Justice Baguma said. The judge made the directives at the precession meeting at Mubende High Court which he said was aimed at setting the rules on how to proceed with the hearing of the case.

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