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Buyanja County poll petition dismissed

By Priscillar Nyamahunge, Joseph Baguma

Added 21st April 2016 09:01 AM

Kasanga filed his petition on February 22 after he was disqualified from running for the Buyanja County seat.

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Godfrey Kasanga Muhonge (right) looks on as his lawyer Tumusiime Irumba addresses the press after the ruling. (Credit: Priscillar Nyamahunge)

Kasanga filed his petition on February 22 after he was disqualified from running for the Buyanja County seat.

The election petition filed by Godfrey Kasanga Muhonge at Masindi High Court against the Independent Electoral Commission has been dismissed.

Justice Albert Rugadya Atwoki on Wednesday delivered his judgment which was read by Chief Magistrate Moses Angualia.

Kasanga filed his petition on February 22 this year after he was disqualified from running for the Buyanja County seat in Kibaale.

Six days earlier – two days to the parliamentary polls –, Kasanga received information that he was not eligible to stand on grounds that he had forged a signature of a one Robert Byenkya , whom he called his campaign agent.

After nomination, Byenkya wrote to the Electoral Commission complaining that his signature had been forged.

Along with Kasanga, Byenkya were summoned to ascertain the validity of the signature and complaint.

A handwriting expert was contacted, who gave a report that Byenkya did not sign on the nomination form, thus leading to Kasanga's cancellation.

Kasanga was contesting against finance minister Matia Kasaija (NRM), also the incumbent. Others in the race included Resty Birungi, Christopher Muvule and Vincent Irumba, who vied as independents.

In his petition, Kasanga complained of unfairness on the part of the Electoral Commission, which he said was always late. He saw this as a move to disorganise him in his bid to represent his people.

However, the respondent (Electoral Commission) argued that Kasanga's petition was overtaken by events and was also incompetent.

According to the respondent, a petition of that nature should have been filed before, and not after, election.

According to Justice Rugadya's ruling, the petitioner failed to prove that Byenkya's signature was genuine.

"The petitioner failed to discharge the allegation that he forged the signature of Robert Byenkya. The petition would therefore fail even on its merits,” the judgment reads in part.

Rugadya however blamed the respondent for lack of diligence when dealing with matters of an urgent matter since they notified the petitioner only two days to the polls.

"For this lack of diligence on the part of the respondent, I will not condemn the petitioner in costs. I order that each party shall bear their own costs,” concludes the ruling.

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