Masaka mayoral election petition dismissed. High Court in Masaka has thrown out a petition challenging the election of the City Mayor, Florence Namayanja.
Lady Justice Ketra Katunguuka made the ruling on Monday on an application filed by the former National Resistance Movement-NRM candidate, Wills Bamwesigye Mbabazi, one of the eight contenders for the Masaka City Mayoral seat.
Namayanja, who ran on the National Unity Platform-NUP party ticket won the polls with 28,824 votes against the petitioner who emerged third with 2,421 votes. Dissatisfied with the poll results, Bamwesigye ran to Masaka High Court seeking among other things the nullification of the election on grounds that the Electoral Commission contravened the laws governing elections.
In his petition, Bamwesigye accused the Electoral Commission of conniving with Namayanja to nominate her basing on forged academic papers. He claimed that the Commission deliberately declined to rectify the anomaly even when he brought up the matter before and after nominations.
In his affidavit, Bamwesigye alleged that Namayanja lacks the minimum academic qualifications of Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education-UACE and is thereby unqualified for election for the position of Mayor.
However, on Monday morning, Lady Justice Ketra Katunguuka dismissed the petition on procedural grounds and failure by the petitioner to show up or send in his representatives for the hearing. Justice Katunguuka noted that the petitioner filed the application outside time, did not seek leave of court, and failed to serve the respondents to prepare their replies.
She noted that Bamwesigye filed his petition 7 days late after the expiry of the 30 days provided for by the law. Justice Katunguuka also noted that despite being served with a hearing notice and acknowledging receipt, the petitioner neither showed up nor sent a representative, an implication that he could have lost interest in the matter.
She dismissed the application with costs to the petitioner. Namayanja’s lawyer, Alexander Lule told URN that he appeared in court out of curiosity after hearing through media that someone had sued his client. He says that they are also yet to hear from the petitioner’s side after waiting for their service in vain.
However, Bamwesigye told Uganda Radio Network on the phone that he is yet to give up on the petition, adding that he is consulting his legal team on the possibilities of appealing the ruling. The same court also granted an application for the withdrawal of a petition filed against the election of Kyotera LC V Chairperson, Patrick Kintu Kisekulo.
Fred Busulwa, a voter in Kyotera had also petitioned a court arguing that the Electoral Commission had made omissions during the vote tallying exercise and erroneously granted Kisekulo victory. However, Busulwa reconsidered his mind and petitioned the court, saying that he had lost interest in the matter.