By Andante Okanya
National Resistance Movement (NRM) Kampala Lord Mayor flag bearer Peter Sematimba and primaries loser Muhammad Kasule, have until July 14 to reconcile, lest court hears the case querying the election conduct.
Justice Elizabeth Musoke on Tuesday set the deadline when the parties to the case convened to brief her on efforts to settle the case outside court. Both rivals were at court.
The judge’s decision was prompted by a request from Sematimba's lawyer Gabriel Byamugisha and Francis Katabalwa representing Kasule to give them more time to negotiate.
Court on April 28 asked the parties to explore the possibility of an outside court settlement.
The case arose on April 9, when Muhammad Kasule, purported that the primaries held on March 30, was riddled with malpractice.
Sematimba polled 108,000 votes, while Kasule was second with 17,000 votes. Two other candidates contested, with Fred Kazibwe polling 11,000 votes, while Twaha Najja was last with 8,600 votes.
The loser, also laments that the party deliberately made his picture appear blurred on the ballot paper, which affected his victory.
But the party states that the petition was hasty, as Kasule should have exhausted the party’s internal mechanisms to solve his grievance.
Kasule purports that he personally visited several polling stations and discovered that pols were being conducted without a voters register.
He alleges that Sematimba did not have the requisite academic qualifications at the time when the primaries were conducted.
But Sematimba who has sworn an affidavit, rubbishes the claim, saying his academic qualifications have been verified by National Council for Higher Education on three occasions.
In addition, he is demanding to be paid costs of the petition. Currently, the process by the Electoral Commission to organise a by-election for the post, is on halt, pending determination of a court case filed by ousted Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
Sematimba, NRM loser given July 14 reconciliation deadline