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KAYUNGA: Nakwedde petitions court

NUP’s candidate Nakawedde at the tally centre before results were released.

Mukono, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The loser in the Kayunga District LCV by-elections Harriet Nakwedde has petitioned the High Court in Mukono seeking to quash the victory of Andrew Muwonge.

The Electoral Commission declared Muwonge of the ruling National Resistance Movement winner with 31,830 votes, followed by NUP’s Nakwedde with 31,308 votes and Independent Candidate Majio Nyanzi third with 1,287 votes in a by-election on December 16, 2021 to replace the late Ffefeka Sserubogo.

Others were Boniface Musisi Bandikubi and Jamilu Kamoga who also stood as independent candidates and obtained 470 votes and 279 votes respectively and Democratic Party’s Anthony Wandipa who trailed the pack with 158 votes.

Nakwedde through her lawyers of Lukwago Advocates, Alaka, and Company Advocates has sued Muwonge together with the Electoral Commission for having conspired to rob her victory.

Nakwedde accuses Muwonge either personally or through his agents of having engaged in bribery activities in ten places and having conspired with the Electoral Commission to alter results from 130 polling stations across the district.

For instance, she contends that on the eve of elections at Lukonda village Kamusabe Parish in Kayonza Sub-county, the Prime Minister of Uganda Robinah Nabanja and a senior member of NRM allegedly bribed Herbert Kalyango and Willy Ssejemba with sh4,000.

According to Nakwedde, the Prime Minister bribed the voters so as to vote in favor of Muwonge who was also reportedly present at the time the bribe was issued.

She further alleges that other senior members of NRM like the Party Secretary-General Richard Todwong, Communications Director Emmanuel Dombo, Director for Mobilization Rosemary Sseninde, and their Chairperson Yoweri Kaguta Museveni bribed voters at Busana playground and other places with cash ranging from sh5,000 shillings to sh1.5 million.

The evidence submitted to court also shows that there was an alteration of results in areas such as at Bbaale Sub County Headquarters polling stations where Muwonge reportedly obtained 37 votes. But when EC allegedly colluded with Muwonge, the results on the final declaration form were altered to effect that Muwonge had obtained 107 votes thus giving him 70 free votes he reportedly didn’t obtain.

“At Kanamugaddu Polling Station, the Petitioner obtained 85 votes according to the declaration of results forms given to Nakimera Jovia and Jamiambe Peter, the petitioner’s polling agent by the 2nd respondent’s officer (EC). However, the 2nd respondent altered the final tally sheet to indicate that the Petitioner obtained 53 votes denying her 32 votes ” reads part of the petition.

The records before court further show that a similar trend continued in other polling stations such as Kikalasa Polling Station, Masembe Hope Christian High School, Wampologoma Trading Centre, Kikoota Landing Site, Bukeeka Church of Uganda, Nyondo A Mosque, Kizinga Trading Centre, Rwabyata primary School, Kanjuki Community Nursery School among other polling stations.

Nakwedde wants the court to declare that the by-election held in Kayunga was not conducted within the provisions of the electoral laws and the principles governing elections . This non-compliance reportedly affected the results of the election in a substantial manner.

Nakwedde also wants the court to declare her as the winner and alternatively the by-election be set aside and a new election is conducted and costs of the case paid to her.

When contacted, Muwonge denied having committed the allegations levied against him saying that he campaigned and won the by-election in conformity with the law.

The Electoral Commission’s lawyer Eric Sabiiti and Muwonge however noted that they had not been served with copies of the petition.

It’s not clear when the Mukono High Court will be sitting to hear this petition.

Its now part of more than 90 election matters that haven’t yet been resolved before the judiciary arising from the 2021 general elections.

This is not the first time that Nakwedde is losing an election in Kayunga. In the 2021 elections, Nakwedde stood against Aidah Erios Nantaba in the District Woman Member of Parliament race and lost to her.

Last week, President Museveni denied allegations that his party had rigged the election.

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