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Judiciary yet to allocate 2021 election petitions for fresh hearing

CJ Owiny-Dollo released performance report recently

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Judiciary is yet to identify judges who will be allocated 15 election petitions that were sent back to the High Court for a fresh hearing.

Following the general elections of 2021, the Judiciary registered 160 petitions at the Parliamentary and local Council levels. 102 were filed against Members of Parliament while 49 against Local Council Chairpersons and nine were election applications.

The Judiciary Public Relations Officer Jamson Karemani, says that the process is being handled by the Principal Judge Dr. Flavian Zeija together with the Registrar of the High Court.

Karemani indicates that the Principal Judge and the Registrar have to cross-check with Judges to ascertain their availability and then allocate them the petitions. He is hopeful that before the year ends, the petitions will be heard and determined.

According to the Judiciary Annual Performance Report that was released by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, 162 election petition appeals were registered and nine withdrawn while 151 were heard and completed.   Of those that were heard, five were sent for by-elections while 15 others were sent back to the High Court for retrial.

Majority of the petitions that were sent back to the High Court for a fresh hearing, it was discovered that the judges had erred to dismiss the petitions on technicalities most especially for lack of valid practicing certificates by the advocates/Commissioner of Oaths.

The Court of Appeal Justices noted that the Supreme Court in 1995 found that under the Advocates Act, a commission granted lasts until it is revoked or until the grantee ceases to be an Advocate.

Some of the petitions include Annet Nyakecho against Godfrey Ekanya for the Tororo North Member of Parliament, Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu’s petition against Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko, and De Paul Kayanja against Entebbe Mayor Fabrice Rulinda.

The others are two brothers Hatwib Katoto and Muhammed Kato who contested for Katerera County and another filed by former Dodoth East MP Samson Lokeris challenging the victory of his rival Emmanuel Komol among others.

Eric Sabiiti, the head of Litigation at the Electoral Commission, says that the commission is ready to defend its decisions and this time round they will dispatch a team of at least five lawyers for each petition.

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URN

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