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MP Kahonda asks court to block petition

The Ruhinda South Member of Parliament, Retired Captain Donozio Mugabe Kahonda

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Ruhinda South Member of Parliament, Retired Captain Donozio Mugabe Kahonda has petitioned the High Court in Kampala to block the hearing of a petition seeking to disqualify him from the parliamentary race.

Kahonda says that the petition filed by Godfrey Kahonaho before the Electoral Commission should not be heard and determined until an appeal challenging his nine months sentence on charges of forgery and impersonation is determined.

In October 2015, Kahonda was arraigned before the court on 14 charges related to impersonation and forgery of several academic documents in the name of Dickson Mutabazi, which he reportedly used to join the Jinja Military Academy on November 11 2001. 

The State also accused him of forging a medical examination form, UPDF declaration form, a record of his fingerprints, attestation papers and opening an account number before Post Bank with intentions of defrauding the public.

He was convicted on eleven counts and acquitted on three counts. He was subsequently sentenced to nine months in jail on all counts and the sentence was to run concurrently.

He, however, appealed against the conviction and subsequent sentence in the High Court and was later released on bail pending appeal. To date, his appeal has not yet been heard.   

In last month’s National Resistance Movement primary elections, Kahonda emerged winner and was nominated by the Electoral Commission. 

However Kahonaho petitioned Justice Simon Byabakama, the EC Chairperson to disqualify Kahonda from the race on grounds that he is a convict.

Under Article 80 of the Constitution and Section four of the Parliamentary Elections Act, “a person is not qualified for elections as a Member of Parliament if that person has within the seven years towards the election been convicted by a competent court or a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude”.

Kahonaho argues that Kahonda who was convicted three years ago should be disqualified because he is not fit to be nominated as MP.  

However, in his application filed before the Civil Division of High Court, Kahonda wants the High Court to issue a temporary order restraining the Electoral Commission from entertaining and resolving any complaint against him in regards to his conviction; until the appeal is disposed of. 

Through his lawyers Caleb Alaka and Evans Ochieng, Kahonda says that should court decline to issue the orders sought, there are an imminent danger and serious threat that he may be disqualified from the race.  

Besides this, Kahonda’s lawyers argue that he was never convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or immoral behaviours and that there is a lacuna on the law on what amounts to dishonesty and moral turpitude.  

Hearing of the case before the Civil Division Acting Registrar Jameson Karemani has been fixed on November 3rd 2020.

The Electoral Commission has also been summoned to file the Defense in his main suit within fifteen days and also summoned to attend the hearing next week.

Kahonda joined parliament in 2016 after defeating Kahinda Otafiire the Minister of East African Affairs.

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