KAMPALA – Justice Collins Akir has authorised Rittah Nabadda to file fresh affidavits on the on-going retrial of her petition challenging the victory of Idah Nantaba as the duly elected Woman Member of Parliament representing Kayunga District.
The Justice made the ruling Nabadda’s lawyers – Gregory Byamukama and Kevin Amjong of Okalang Law Chambers had filed a rejoinder to Nantaba’s reply when the High court had determined the matter forcing their client to appeal the decision.
Earlier on, Nantaba’s Lawyer, Ambrose Tebyasa asked court to retry the case starting from where the high court stopped the trial and reject the request by both sides to amend their pleadings, particularly introducing supplementary affidavits with new evidence.
“The retrial court is required to examine and handle the case based on evidence that was available at the time the mistrial started,” he said. However, Nabadda’s lawyers argued that the appellant court ordered a new trial of the entire case, where both questions of fact and issues of law are determined as if there had been no trial in the first instance.
The superior court ordered a retrial, so this should not be a matter of discretion before this court. What my learned friend has discussed is an opinion.”
Justice Akir concurred with the petitioner’s submission and ruled that they file the supplementary affidavits by December, 5, on grounds the Court of appeal ordered for a full retrial. In June this year, a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices comprising Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Gashirabake ordered a retrial of the matter after setting aside the decision by the Mukono High Court.
Nabadda, who did not participate in the race but was dissatisfied with the election results, petitioned Mukono High Court accusing Nantaba of voter bribery. However, Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya dismissed the application on September 10, 2021, on grounds of incompetence and lack of supportive 500 signatures from registered voters in the district. She also ordered Nabadda to pay the costs of the suit to Nantaba.
Nabadda was however dissatisfied – petitioning the Court of Appeal in Kampala on eight grounds. She argued that the learned trial Judge erred in law and fact when she failed to find that the preliminary objection raised by Nantaba’s lawyers required adducing evidence, which made it premature for Justice Kazaarwe to dismiss the petition.
She also noted that the learned trial Judge erred in law when she determined matters of evidence by way of preliminary objection without subjecting the petition to a hearing leading to a miscarriage of justice. Nantaba and the Electoral Commission asked the appellant court to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that it was incompetent as held by the High Court.
However, the Court of Appeal Justices concurred with the appellant, concluding that the lower court judge erred when she found that her petition had not been supported by the requisite 500 signatures of registered voters when no evidence had been adduced to that effect. They also agreed that it was wrong for the High Court Judge to make a conclusion that only 70 out of the 559 persons supporting the petition had the opportunity of filing the form with their voter numbers when there was no evidence to that effect.
Nantaba contested an independent in the race – defeating six other candidates after garnering 47,725 votes in the January 14, 2021 parliamentary elections. Her closest rival Harriet Nakwedde from the National Unity Platform – NUP managed 37,117 votes while Jackline Birungi Kobusingye, another independent came third with 10,202 votes. Agatha Nalubwama from the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM polled 9,237 votes in fourth position as Margaret Nabirye picked 3,648 votes in a race where Brenda Nakaddu from the Forum for Democratic Change – FDC garnered 889 votes while the Democratic Party candidate Lydia Wabuza trailed the pack with 303 votes.
In a related development, Justice Akir has set December 6 as the date for cross-examining witnesses in the retrial of the Mukono South parliamentary petition.
The Court of Appeal in Kampala ordered a fresh trial of the petition challenging the victory of Fred Kayondo as the Mukono South MP following an appeal filed by the NUP candidate, Wilson Male challenging the decision by the Mukono High Court Judge, Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya dismissing his petition.
The panel of three Court of Appeal Justices comprising Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Catherine Bamugemereire, and Irene Mulyagonja ruled that the Judge erred when she dismissed Male’s petition citing defective affidavits yet she allowed the same from Kayondo and the Electoral Commission.
Kazaarwe was also faulted for having under looked and condoned Kayondo’s defective pleadings in disregard of Male’s submissions. Kayondo, who ran on the DP ticket, emerged as the victor in a race that attracted six candidates. He polled 26,512 votes. Male came third with 4,831 votes.
Original report by URN