The High Court on Thursday 19th, August 2021 deferred it’s ruling in the petition case challenging the election of Muhammad Ssegirinya as Kawempe North Member of Parliament.
This comes after the petitioner Sulaiman Kidandala’s lawyers and the Electoral Commission (EC) failed to agree on whether Ssegirinya had been served or not.
EC Lawyer Edwin Tabaro, presented that being the second respondent in the case, asked court to dismiss the petition on the grounds that Ssegirinya was never served as a respondent in the case as directed by court. However Kidandala’s legal team led by lawyer Kenneth Paul Kakande maintained that the MP was served while in Kitalya detention facility but declined to sign the papers.
Ssegirinya, who was also absent in court, tallied 41,197 votes in the January elections to defeat Kidandala (7,512) and eight other contestants to win the Kawempe North seat.
In today’s court petition filed against Ssegirinya, the court (Judge Henrietta Wolayo) set September 2, 2021 as the date for hearing the application in which the Electoral Commission asked that the election petition against Ssegirinya be dismissed for not being served.
The Electoral Commission says there is no evidence to show that Kidandala’s lawyers served Ssegirinya with a copy of the petition challenging his election since he was in prison by the time the petition was filed.
“It’s not true that I witnessed the service of the notice of presentation of the petition on Ssegirinya Muhammed and that he refused to sign on them after reading through as alleged or that the documents were left at the prison,” says an affidavit by Felix Mugirya, the deputy officer in charge of Kitalya prison where Ssegirinya was kept.
The affidavit has been used by the Electoral Commission in their application seeking for the petition against Ssegirinya to be dismissed.
EC lawyer, Edwin Tabaro said Kidandala’s petition doesn’t stand if the first respondent, Ssegirinya was not served with the same.
“That is what the Constitution provides on how to handle cases of this nature. In this case, there is no petition if it was not served to the respondent. Orders were clear that you can serve the OC for Kitalya prison and not necessarily Ssegirinya but as we stand now, none of the two was done,” Tabaro said.
Kidandala challenged Ssegirinya’s election on grounds that he didn’t have the requisite academic qualifications to contest for a parliamentary seat among other irregularities. Ssegirinya is accused of forging the academic documents he presented to the Electoral Commission.
The law requires all persons contesting for a parliamentary seats to have an A-Level certificate or it’s equivalent.
He also accuses Ssegirinya of falling afoul of the Parliamentary Elections Act by failing to have his nomination papers signed and countersigned.
The former Kampala Deputy Lord Mayor also alleges that a minimum of ten signatures from registered voters in Kawempe North were missing from Ssegirinya’s nomination forms as required by law.
The Electoral Commission is also a respondent in the matter for allowing Ssegirinya to be nominated yet he is not a registered voter of Kawempe North or any other area in Uganda .