Ex-MP Withdraws Re-trial Case Against His Brother From High Court

Hatwib Katooto the Former Katerera Member of Parliament has withdrawn the re-trail of his electoral case from the Mbarara High Court against his brother Hon Kato Muhammad following a mediation.

The withdrawn case arises from the electoral appeal case filed by Hon Hatwibu Katooto in the Court of Appeal in September last year, this also followed the dismissal of an electoral petition by the Mbarara High Court Judge Moses Kazibwe Kawumi that arose from the January 2021 general elections.

The two brothers contested against each other in the race for Katerera County parliamentary seat that saw Kato Muhammad emerge victor 12, 213 votes against Katoto’s 9,302 votes.

Katoto ran to the Mbarara High court to challenge Kato’s victory, however, lost the case. 

In his petition to the High Court Katoto had alleged that his Brother Kato lacked the requisite advanced level academic qualifications to contest for the Member of Parliament seat, he also cited multiple voting, ballot stuffing, intimidation of voters and Kato’s alleged printing and displaying of posters with the name ‘Katoto’ to mislead voters.

However, these grounds were challenged by both the defence and the Electoral Commission’s legal team that all affidavits in the case carried different font sizes and line spacing from the main body and that the statement of the Commissioner of Oaths was independent of all the pages, which he said was conclusive evidence that the deponents did not appear before the Commissioner of Oaths.

Justice Kazibwe concurred with both Kato and the Electoral Commission’s legal teams and dismissed the application with costs.

Katooto after losing the petition in the High Court opted for the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling through his lawyers of Lukwago and Company Advocates raising five grounds saying that the trial judge had erred in the hearing of his petition.

He noted that Justice Kazibwe erred in law when he removed nine affidavits filed out of time from the court record hence causing a miscarriage of justice.

Katoto also faulted the Judge for abdicating his duty of evaluating evidence on the court record and wrongly severing his affidavits for allegedly departing from the petition.

Katoto wanted the Court of Appeal to allow his case and revert the petition to the High Court for a re-trial which was granted by a panel of three Court of Appeal Judges. The panel comprised Elizabeth Musoke, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, and Monica Mugenyi.

However, on Monday morning the two parties with their legal teams held a mediation session that lasted hours and was chaired by the head of Litigation at the Electoral Commission, Counsel Eric Sabiiti who volunteered to mediate the parties.

After the two parties agreed Counsel Sabiiti led the team to the Chambers of Lady Justice Esta Nambayo to report the outcome who subsequently endorsed the withdrawal of the petition.

Sabiiti told journalists outside court that before petitioning or any other matter, parties are usually encouraged to mediate noting that when the opportunity arose they utilized it and explained to both parties the merit of the case.

He said that the two parties also agreed to meet their costs.

Hon Kato Muhammad, the current member of Parliament, said that withdrawing the matter is going to be one of the things that are going to contribute towards the development and unity of Katerera County.

Shortly after the withdrawal, Hon Hatwib Katooto the former Member of parliament said that he had chosen to withdraw the case for the sake of the NRM party noting that this will be help the people of Katerera County to at least continue with the prosperity.

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