Court dismisses election appeal against Kyaka Central MP

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Court of Appeal in Kampala has dismissed with costs an election appeal challenging the victory of Bright Tom Amooti, the Kyaka Central Member of Parliament in Kyegegwa district.

Court of Appeal panel comprised of the Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Lady Justices Catherine Bamugemereire and Irene Mulyagonja, dismissed the appeal filed by Eryeza Birihairwe on grounds that it was filed out of the stipulated time of seven days.

The Electoral Commission declared Bright of the ruling National Resistance Movement as the winner with 15,956 votes while Eryeza, an Independent candidate obtained 8,983 votes.

Birihairwe petitioned the High Court in Fort Portal challenging both the nomination of Bright and his declaration on grounds that they did not comply with the rules governing elections.

In October, Justice Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema dismissed the case which forced Eryeza to file a notice of appeal against the decision on November 3rd, 2021. Eryeza also filed the Memorandum of Appeal together with the Record of Proceedings of the High Court on December 22, 2021, and served Bright on January 17, 2022.

But Bright through his lawyers led by William Kyobe also filed an application seeking to strike out Birihairwe’s appeal on grounds that it was not filed and served within the stipulated time of seven days as required by law.

He added that there is no consequential extension of time provided for both the filing of the Memorandum of Appeal and record of appeal and that an essential step in the proceedings has not been taken within the prescribed time.

Bright’s lawyers argued Eryeza did not file an application seeking to extend the time to file and serve the documents within the prescribed time and therefore the case should be dismissed.

In their decision, the Justices have agreed with Bright and accordingly struck off the appeal by Eryeza.

The Justices have ruled that Birihairwe has not provided any sufficient reason for filing the Memorandum of Appeal out of time.

“Both the respondent/Eryeza and his counsel emphasized that the Memorandum of Appeal was filed on time whereas not. The respondent did not find it pertinent to file an application for an extension of time within which to file the Memorandum of Appeal or seek for leave of court to validate the same’, said the justices.

According to the justices, Birihairwe rather placed emphasis on the typographical errors made by Bright’s lawyer in his written submissions, which they have found out were irrelevant in the resolution of this case because the evidence on record is clear that the appeal was filed out of time.

“In the instant case, we find no evidence from the respondent/Eryeza  to support the finding of sufficient reason to explain his failure to take the necessary steps to file the Memorandum of Appeal within the time stipulated by law’, reads the decision in part.

Accordingly, the Justices have indicated that Birihairwe was not diligent in pursuing his appeal as the law requires in election petition appeals.

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URN

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