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Court orders Mbabali to pay Govt after he withdraws case

By Betty Amamukirori

Added 3rd May 2016 10:34 AM

Mbabali accused the judges of being partial and proceeding with the hearing of the appeal case in his absence

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Counsel Simon Peter Knobe (left) and Elisha Bafirawala at the Constitution court at Twed Tower Kololo on May 2,2016. Photo by Edward Kisoma.

Mbabali accused the judges of being partial and proceeding with the hearing of the appeal case in his absence

The Constitutional Court has asked Muyanja Mbabali, the Bukoto South Member of Parliament-elect, to pay cost to government after he dropped his 2012 election petition case against the Attorney General.

Yesterday, while appearing before a panel of five constitutional court justices, Muyanja's lawyer, Simon Peter Kinobe, said that they wish to withdraw the petition because it had been overtaken by events.

However, Elisha Bafirawala, who represented the Attorney General (AG), objected the application for withdrawal of the case arguing that it defamed the judges who handled the petition and therefore, cannot just be withdrawn.

"A quick perusal into the allegations in the petition indicate that the justices, who comprised the panel that heard the petition, abdicated their duty to act independently when they received money and other considerations from the respondents," he said.

Bafirawala said that such allegations tainted the image of the judges and that of the court and by withdrawing it just because it has been overtaken by events, undermines the gravity of the allegations.

"The judges' integrity was disparaged and the dignity of the court and its independence was attacked. For counsel to withdraw the petition is very unfortunate," he stated.

 ounsel lisha afirawalaleft and imon eter nobe with their collegue at the onstitution court at wed ower ololo on ay 22016 hoto by dward isoma Counsel Elisha Bafirawala(left) and Simon Peter Knobe with their collegue at the Constitution court at Twed Tower Kololo on May 2,2016. Photo by Edward Kisoma.

 

He therefore, asked court to direct Mbabali to apologize to each of the judges and the court and the apology be served to Uganda Law Society and the AG, within seven days. He also asked court to charge Mbabali with contempt of court and direct him to pay the costs of the suit.

In their brief judgment, Deputy Chief justice, Steven Kavuma, Justices, Richard Buteera, Paul Mugamba, Elizabeth Musoke and Catherine Bamugemereire, dropped the case and ordered Mbabali to pay the costs of the suit to government.

The money was not disclosed because Government has to first apply for the bill of costs.

In 2012, Mbabali petitioned the Constitutional Court against a court of appeal judgment on an election petition where he had sued Mathias Nsubuga Birekerawo, who had earlier dragged him to Masaka high court, challenging his victory.

Birekerawo argued that Mbabali presented forged academic credentials during nomination and asked court to annul the results.

In its judgment, the judge nullified the elections prompting Mbabali to appeal.

In their judgment, the court of appeal judges concurred with the ruling of the High Court, something that did not go well with Mbabali, who petitioned the Constitutional Court accusing the judges of being partial and abdicating their duty to act independently.

In his petition he also accused the judges of being partial and proceeding with the hearing of the appeal case in his absence.

He wanted court to declare the ruling null and void and declare that the actions of Justice Augustine Nshimye, the late Constance byamuugisha and Stella Arach Amoko, were unconstitutional.

Speaking to journalists on why they decided to withdraw the case, Kinobe said that they have already won the 2016 election petition case in Masaka, so there is no need to pursue an old case

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