Masaka High Court has ordered for a by-election in Bukomansimbi North Constituency after nullifying the election of Christine Nandagire Ndiwalana.
Presiding judge Ketra Katunguka yesterday held that Ms Ndiwalana was invalidly nominated to contest and yet she lacked the minimum academic qualification of Senior Six or its equivalent.
The court’s decision arose from a petition filed by Ms Ruth Katushabe, a runner-up in the January poll.
Ms Ndiwalana’s legal team led by Medard Lubega Ssegonna and Ssekanjako Abubakar had told court that the MP had a certificate acquired from St Francis Nsambya Nursing School, which she used as an equivalent for A-Level to be nominated.
However, Ms Katushabe’s lawyers led by Geoffrey Ntambirweki Kandebe argued that the certificate had since expired having been issued to her on April 29, 1998 and it could only run for five years.
The judge agreed with this.
“An expired document is, therefore, invalid since the document she presented at her nomination had expired in April 2003. I have also looked at the said document (certificate of completion) which is not an academic qualification neither was signed, stamped nor sealed,” ruled the judge.
“The certificate has to be owned by the issuing body by either a stamp, signature or a seal and since this did not have these features it makes it questionable even when it was not expired,” she said.
Ms Katushabe said she was ready to contest again and thanked God for fighting for her victory.
Sironko Woman MP retains seat
There was jubilation at Mbale High Court yesterday after the petition that was seeking to unseat the Sironko District Woman MP Florence Nambozo was dismissed.
Ms Asha Nabulo Lumolo, the NRM flag bearer, had petitioned court, demanding the annulment of Ms Nambozo’s election, on grounds of lack of requisite academic qualifications and electoral irregularities.
However, presiding Judge David Matovu dismissed the petition over lack of substantial evidence.
The judge also ruled: “The election of the Woman MP for Sironko District was conducted in compliance with the electoral laws.”
Justice Matovu ordered Ms Nabulo to pay legal costs to Ms Nambozo.
Ms Nambozo, who was the incumbent, contested as an Independent after losing the NRM ticket to Ms Nabulo and retained her seat in the January 14 parliamentary elections after she garnered 31,119 against Ms Nabulo’s 29,744.
Ms Nambozo said she was happy that justice had finally been served.
“I am very excited because I have seen justice being served, the petition against me was pure malice from my own people,” she said.
However, Mr Hassan Kamba, one of Ms Nabulo’s lawyers, said they were going to appeal the decision.
In a related development, the same court has set Thursday next week to decide the election dispute in which Ms Lydia Wanyoto is challenging the election of Ms Connie Nakayenze Galiwango as Mbale City Woman MP.
Nantaba win appealed
The upholding of the election of Ms Idah Nantaba Erios as Kayunga District Woman MP by the High Court has been challenged before the Court of Appeal in Kampala.
Ms Ritah Nabadda in her appeal faults High Court judge Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya for having erred in law when she determined matters of evidence by way of preliminary objection without subjecting the petition to a hearing.
She also faults Justice Kazaarwe that when she reached a conclusion, there was no opportunity to call additional evidence as available in ordinary suits thus wrongly dismissing her petition against Nantaba.
Ms Nabadda now wants the Court of Appeal to order for the retrial of her petition before a different judge.
By Fahad Malik, Michael Woniala, Juliet Kigongo & Anthony Wesaka