The High court in Mukono has dismissed an election petition challenging the victory of Idah Nantaba as Kayunga District Woman member of parliament.
In 2021, Nantaba stood on an independent ticket and defeated six other candidates after garnering 47,725 votes. But Nazigo sub-county councillor Ritah Nabadda challenged the victory of Nantaba and petitioned the High court accusing Nantaba of voter bribery.
Mukono High court judge Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya however dismissed Nabadda’s petition on grounds of incompetence and lack of the supportive 500 signatures from registered voters in the district. Nabadda appealed challenging Kazaarwe’s decision.
Last year, a panel of three Court of Appeal justices comprising Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Gashirabake, set aside the decision by the Mukono High court and ordered a fresh retrial. Nabadda sought an order that the election is set aside, a new election be held and also costs be awarded to her.
On Friday, justice Collins Acellam ruled that the petition against Nantaba is not competent because it was properly supported by the request signatures of 500 registered voters in Kayunga district as required by the law.
“Court has also taken into consideration the fact that this petition is brought under section 60(2) which allows a registered voter in the constituency supported by 500 other voters to challenge the election of a member of parliament if they are not satisfied with the outcome of such an election or if they believe such a person was not vividly elected.” justice Acellam indicated.
On accusations of voter bribery and distribution of food and other items in Kambatani village, Acellam said that Nabadda failed to prove that the Nantaba committed any electoral offences. Acellam also ruled that each party bears its own costs.
“To condemn such voters to costs would only serve the purpose of discouraging such people from contesting an election even when they believe the elections were not conducted in compliance with the law,” Acellam noted.
Nantaba’s lawyer Ambrose Tebyasa welcomed the ruling, but he is not happy that Nantaba was not awarded costs yet she has been spending a lot of money during the hearing of the petition while Phillip Kasinga, who represented Nabadda said that they will respect the decision of the court.
Meanwhile, the High court has asked for more time to finalize the judgment in the election petition filed by Wilson Male of the National Unity Platform (NUP) challenging the victory of Fred Kayondo of the Democratic Party as the Mukono South County MP.
In October 2021, Mukono High court judge Olive Kazarwe Mukwaya dismissed the petition on grounds that the commissioner of oaths who signed the petition did not have a practising certificate. However, three justices of the Court of Appeal overturned the decision and ordered a fresh hearing at the High court.