Petitioner struggles to justify bribery claims against Mukono South MP

Petitioner Wilson Male(R) at court. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Wilson Male, who is challenging the victory of Fred Kayondo as the Mukono South Member of Parliament, found a hard time defending his bribery accusations against the legislator.

In his petition, Male accuses Kayondo, who ran on the Democratic Party ticket of voter bribery and using the National Unity Platform-NUP symbol and slogans, on his campaign posters in the January 2021 polls.

He argued that this didn’t only confuse the voters, but also affected the outcome of the polls.

The matter came up for retrial before Justice Collins Akir at Mukono High Court on Tuesday, in line with the Court of Appeal directive. Male took to the stands for cross-examination by Kayondo’s legal team led by Erias Luyimbaazi Nalukoola. During the cross-examination, Male failed to present evidence pinning Kayondo for using the NUP symbol on his campaign posters apart from the people power slogan.

Nalukoola told the court that his client used a hoe, which belongs to DP as his campaign symbol, and on the ballot. The lawyer also argued that the ‘People Power’ slogan belongs to no political party in the country. While being cross-examined by the Electoral Commission’s lawyer Hamidu Lugoloobi, Male also failed to prove the allegations of voter bribery despite indicating in his affidavit that he had captured pictures and videos of the same.

In the petition, Male cited various events where Kayondo was recorded giving out money and gifts to the voters. Male’s lawyer, Musa Nakueira told URN after the court session that the cross-examination of his client is just part of the hearing but they still have more evidence to justify their claims.

In July this year, a panel of three Court of Appeal justices comprising Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Catherine Bamugemereire, and Irene Mulyagonja ordered the retrial of Male’s petition that Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya had dismissed on technical grounds.

Both Kayondo and the Electoral Commission asked High Court to dismiss the petition on grounds that the Commissioner of Oaths who had commissioned Male’s affidavits did not have a valid practicing certificate at that time. Accordingly, Justice Olive Kazaarwe dismissed the petition without hearing its merits.

As a result, Male appealed against the decision, saying the judge erred in law and fact when she held that his petition was incompetent and incurably defective. Kazaarwe was also faulted for having underlooked and condoned Kayondo’s defective pleadings and failure to consider Male’s submissions.

The Court of Appeal Justices agreed that the Judge erred when she dismissed Male’s petition for having defective affidavits yet she allowed the same from Kayondo and the Electoral Commission. Kayondo polled 26,512 votes in the race which attracted six candidates, while Male, the challenger from the National Unity Platform obtained 4,831 votes to secure the third position in the race.

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URN

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