Court Dismisses Katuntu’s Affidavits Filed Out of Time
Written by admin on August 18, 2021
Lady Justice Susan Abinyo has dismissed 10 affidavits filed by Abdul Katuntu to defend his election as the Bugweri county Member of Parliament on grounds that they were filed outside the stipulated time. Justice delivered the ruling when the petition filed by Katuntu’s rival, Julius Galisonga, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC candidate came up for hearing on Tuesday.
Galisonga dragged Katuntu and Electoral Commission to court for allegedly orchestrating electoral irregularities, which affected the outcome of the Bugweri county parliamentary poll results. During the hearing on Tuesday, Galisonga’s lawyer, John Isabirye explained that they filed their petition on March 24, 2021, and the first respondent filed their response on April 6, 2021. He noted that it was inappropriate for the respondents to file supplementary affidavits three months later.
Abinyo, who adjourned the session to August 26, 2021, ruled that election petitions are matters of public interest, which warrant adherence to all procedures, to promote fairness and justice for all parties involved. Isabirye argued that once the court allows the first respondent to file fresh evidence, he would not stop to bring more affidavits before the court.
Katuntu’s lawyer, Alfred Oryem expressed reservations about the court ruling but he stressed that their defense team is on course to out rightly win the petition.
Meanwhile, Justice Issa Sserunkuma has cleared Jinja South division East legislator, Nathan Nabeta to file supplementary affidavits to support of his reply to the petition.
Sserunkuma directed both the petitioner and respondents’ lawyers to file written submissions, which shall be expeditiously discussed during the next hearing on September 16, 2021.
Alliance for National Transformation’s-ANT, Paul Mwiru filed a petition against the electoral commission and Nabeta, accusing them of conniving to deny him victory during the January parliamentary elections.
“A section of electoral commission officials connived with Nabeta to exaggerate the results at Masese 1 polling station N-M, which greatly affected the final election results” reads the petition in part. According to one of the declarations of results forms exhibited before the court, Masese 1 polling station has 798 voters and of these; Nabeta earned 650 votes whereas, Mwiru garnered 20 votes.
However, in his affidavit, Mwiru argues that he earned 103 votes and Nabeta scooped 238 votes. He claims that his agents were beaten and forced to append signatures on the fake declaration of results forms. Nabeta’s lawyer, Ahmed Kalule stresses that they delayed filing their replies to accord the petitioner enough time to furnish court with enough evidence in support of the petition.
Mwiru argues that the move to allow the respondents to adduce supplementary affidavits is timely in ensuring fair dispensation of justice.