The High Court in Masaka has dismissed an application that sought to reinstate an election petition against the Masaka city Mayor Florence Namayanja.
In a ruling delivered on Tuesday by Masaka High Registrar Agnes Nkonge, the court declined the application filed by Wills Mbabazi Bamwesigye. Bamwesigye was seeking permission to further challenge Namayanja’s election on academic grounds and irregular nomination by the Electoral Commission.
Mbabazi who contested on the National Resistance Movement-NRM party ticket had earlier filed an election petition in Masaka High Court, which was however dismissed on grounds of non-appearance, non-service, and failure to file the petition within the stipulated time.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Mbabazi returned to the same High Court with an application seeking for an extension of time to be able to proceed with challenging Namayanja’s election which he argued was irregular.
In his application, Mbabazi told the court that his earlier petition was dismissed without his knowledge arguing that its hearing was fixed when he was hospitalized and could not attend court, and his lawyers were also not informed of the hearing dates.
He also alleges that Namayanja deliberately dodged being served with the application papers, hence frustrating his attempts of reaching him, arguing that if allowed extension, he will opt for substituted service to ensure that she receives papers.
In her ruling, Justice Ketrah Katunguuka dismissed the application with costs. He said that he was seeking to file an election petition whose outcome had already been determined way back by the same court.
Court held that Mbabazi failed to prove sufficient cause for reinstatement of a dismissed petition which itself had also been filed out of time and that the argument about Namayanja’s alleged irregular nomination had also been cleared by the Electoral Commission before the polling day.
“The petition having been filed out of timer cannot stand to be heard on its merit for to do that would be seeking to extend time which power this court does not have….” the ruling reads in part.
According to the ruling, Mbabazi filed his election petition on May 5, yet the results of the elections he was seeking to challenge were gazetted on April 12. The latest petition should have been filed according to court should have been on April 26th. The law requires that an election petition is filed within fourteen days after the day on which the results are gazetted by the Electoral Commission.
Court also held that it discovered a lot of falsehoods in Mbabazi affidavits, where he failed to be consistent on the days he was admitted in the hospital as he claims; indicating that granting his application would amount to encouraging sluggishness of litigants.