Court dismisses 3rd election petition against MP Nantaba
Mukono High Court has dismissed a 3rd petition challenging the election of Aidah Erios Nantaba as Kayunga Woman Member of Parliament.
Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya has ordered her accuser Harriet Nakwede to pay her costs of the suit.
The petitioner, who ran on the National Unity Platform (NUP) party ticket was the 1st runner up in the January 14,2021 election polls. She garnered 37,117 votes against Nantaba’s 42,725 votes.
Nakwede dragged Nantaba to High Court accusing her of committing several electoral offences including going to cast her vote with 17 buses filled with people unknown to the area to vote for her.
She also claimed that Nantaba blocked her agents from accessing the areas where the polling officers were issuing ballot papers and that at some polling stations her agents were forced to sign the result declaration forms before the voters were counted.
Naka also claimed that during the vote tallying exercise, only Nantaba was allowed to access the tallying tent. She also accused the Electoral Commission of delaying the declaration exercise hence creating space for altering results.
Nantaba in her defence through her lawyer Ambrose Tebyasa denied the accusations, saying they are baseless statements without clear evidence .
Tebyasa demonstrated before the court that all candidates attended the entire tallying process in person and were accorded equal treatment.
He also proved before the court that the witnesses presented by the petitioner are either non-residents or registered voters in Kayunga district.
The EC lawyer, Jennifer Somali Angayo also demonstrated before the court that EC verified the entries and all results announced at polling stations before the final tally and subsequent declaration of the final results.
In her ruling delivered on email, Justice Kazaarwe dismissed Naka’s claims saying that Nantaba didn’t commit any electoral offences during the electoral process and that her election was conducted in compliance with electoral laws and principles.
” In my view, she has failed in her duty to prove these claims to the satisfaction of this court and on a balance of probabilities. I find that Nantaba did not commit any electoral offences during the electoral process and that the elections of the district woman representative of Parliament in Kayunga district were conducted in compliance with the Electoral laws and principles. This petition is accordingly dismissed with costs to Nantaba and EC,” Lady Justice Kazaarwe ruled.
Tebyasa applauded the high court for administering Justice to her client, saying that they are currently preparing a file for the bill costs.
The petitioner declined to comment on the ruling until she consults with her lawyers.
The 1st petition against Nantaba’s election was filed by Jackeline Kobusingye Birungi who challenged her academic qualifications.
The 2nd petition was filed by Ritah Nabadda, a voter in Kayunga who had prepared video evidence showing Nantaba bribing voters.
The court dismissed Kobusingye’s petition for lack of evidence while Nabadda’s petition was thrown out because of failure to collect the signatures of 500 registered voters from Kayunga district.