The Electoral Commission and Kayunga District LC 5 Chairperson Andrew Muwonge, has appealed to the Court of Appeal to dismiss an appeal filed by his rival, Harriet Nakwedde on grounds it was filed beyond the stipulated timeframe. Muwonge, represented by his lawyer Anthony Bazira, appeared before a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices—Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibedi, and Christopher Gashirabake—on Tuesday.
Bazira argued that Nakwedde’s appeal was lodged nine months beyond the designated period and that she failed to take crucial steps promptly in pursuit of her appeal. Bazira, along with the Electoral Commission’s head of Litigation, Eric Sabiiti, contended that there exists no valid appeal against Muwonge and urged the court to strike it from the record, with costs.
The Electoral Commission declared Muwonge of the ruling National Resistance Movement as the winner, garnering 31,830 votes, followed by Nakwedde of the opposition National Unity Platform with 31,308 votes. Independent candidate Majid Nyanzi secured third place with 1,287 votes in a by-election triggered by the demise of Ffeffeka Ssekibogo, elected in the 2021 general election.
Nakwedde, discontent with the results, lodged a petition in the Mukono High Court, alleging bribery by Muwonge or his agents in ten locations and collusion with the Electoral Commission to manipulate results from 130 polling stations across the district.
She further accused President Yoweri Museveni, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, and senior NRM members, including Secretary-General Richard Todwong, Communications Director Emmanuel Dombo, and Director for Mobilization Rosemary Sseninde, of voter bribery. Additionally, she claimed there was tampering with results at various polling stations.
However, on July 14th, 2022, High Court Judge Alex Mackay Ajiji dismissed Nakwedde’s petition due to its late service, rendering it invalid. He affirmed Muwonge as the duly elected LC5 Chairperson. Unsatisfied with the decision, Nakwedde appealed through her lawyer Jonathan Erutu.
During the recent hearing, Muwonge’s legal representatives Bazira and Sabiiti raised a preliminary objection, seeking to dismiss the entire appeal due to its late filing. The justices indicated that they would consider both the appeal and the procedural issue together in their forthcoming decision.
Nakwedde insists that her victory was unfairly contested and demands Muwonge’s election be nullified, attributing the filing delay to external factors beyond her control.
In response, Muwonge dismisses Nakwedde’s petition as lacking merit and perceives it as a waste of his time.