Bamunanika county Member of Parliament, Robert Ssekitoleeko has asked the High Court in Kampala to dismiss a petition challenging his victory in the January 14, 2021 polls.
Ssekitoleeko, who contested on the National Unity Platform-NUP party ticket, trounced his rival and former boss, Chrysostom Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education after polling 27,850 votes against 24,463 votes.
However, Muyingo’s supporter Christopher Matabi petitioned the court accusing Ssekitoleko of committing various electoral offences including voter bribery and alteration of declaration of results forms.
He also faulted the Electoral Commission for declaring Ssekitoleeko as the winner when some declaration forms had discrepancies while others did not tally with the number of ballot papers and hence denied his candidate victory.
The petitioner cited Guriyadda polling stations where the total number of votes counted was 198 against 359 ballot papers issued.
He also noted that only one ballot remained unused and wondered where the rest of the ballots went. Matabi asked the court to nullify the victory of Ssekitoleeko and declare Muyingo, the first runner up the eventual winner of the elections.
However, when the matter came up for hearing before Lady Justice Henrietta Wolayo, Ssekitoleeko’s lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona raised a preliminary objection to the petition on grounds that the 500 signatures supporting the petition were not of registered voters in Bamunanika Constituency.
The evidence submitted to the court by the lawyers indicated that the signatures were for registered voters in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts.
They argued that some of the people whose signatures were included applied for bursaries from the Minister but they were erroneously used to support the petition.
Court also heard that for the rest of the signatures there is nothing on record to prove that they are registered voters in the constituency.
The laws provide that an election petition must be accompanied by certified copies of the voter’s register or voter’s card obtained from the Electoral Commission, which was not the case with Matabi’s petition.
Court further heard that the petitioner himself has not produced a certified copy of the voter’s register to prove that he is a registered voter in Bamunanika Constituency.
As such, Sseggona who was accompanied by Abubaker Ssekanjako asked the court to dismiss the petition rather than waste time going through for trial.
However, in response, the petitioner’s lawyers led by Okello Oryem opposed the submission by Ssekitoleko’s legal team arguing that they are going to be prejudiced because the submissions raised are not points of law, which can only come up during the hearing.
Okello also argued that the law does not provide for the attachment of certified copies of the voter’s register and only provides for registered voters from the constituency in question.
Justice Wolayo adjourned the court, saying she will deliver her ruling on notice before the end of this week. Speaking to journalists outside the court, Ssekitoleeko asked Muyingo not to use Matabi to fight him.