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Court halts proceedings against Kato Lubwama

By Michael Odeng, Farooq Kasule

Added 7th February 2017 08:05 PM

Court documents indicate that the Rubaga MP's results didn't merit him a UCE certificate

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Court documents indicate that the Rubaga MP's results didn't merit him a UCE certificate

Kato Lubwama pictured with his lawyer Caleb Alaka (L) after the court hearing, at Twed Towers. Photo by Richard Sanya

The Court of Appeal has temporarily halted the hearing of a petition, in which a voter is challenging the election of Kato Lubwama as Rubaga South MP over his academic qualifications.

Justice Cheborion Barishaki today issued an interim order staying the High Court proceedings, saying there was a substantive application and threat that the hearing of the petition may take place before an application filed in the appeal court is heard, which would amount to injustice.   

Barishaki also noted that the acts of Habib Buwembo of petitioning the registrar of the civil division of the High Court, Alex Ajiji, to fix the matter for hearing in a shortest time cannot be taken lightly.

“The High Court should stop hearing proceedings of an election petition against Lubwama, pending the hearing of an application for leave to appeal against its orders” Barishaki directed.

Justice Barishaki also directed the registrar of Court of Appeal, Deo Nizeyimana, to fix the application for leave to appeal against Oguli’s orders quickly.

He noted that an order directing Buwembo to file a petition against Lubwama had been over taken by events since the petitioner had already filed and Lubwama responded to it.

In December 19, 2016, the deputy head of the civil division, Margaret Oguli-Oumo, granted Buwembo permission to file an election petition against Lubwama within 30 days, challenging his academic qualifications, which he abided with.

Court documents indicate that Lubwama failed English, Mathematics, and Commerce, but got a credit three in Christian Religious Education, a pass eight in history and Geography.

 

However, according to Buwembo, this did not merit Lubwama a UCE certificate, a prerequisite for taking Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) that ordinarily enables a person to pursue a diploma or degree course at a University.

It is alleged that Lubwama used the said documents to sit mature age entry exams to be admitted for a diploma in Music, Dance and Drama at Makerere University. Lubwama joined Makerere University in 1993 after he presented a letter from UNEB, confirming that he sat for his O' level.

Prior to court’s ruling, Lubwama’s lawyers led by Caleb Alaka argued that Buwembo’s petition was not supported by 500 signatures of Rubaga South voters as required by the law.

Filing an application out of time needs 500 signatures. He was assisted by lawyer Luyimbazi Nalukoola.

Alaka also submitted that Lubwama’s application raises questions of law under Section 60 of the Constitution on whether the High Court has powers to extend time of filling an election petition, which needs interpretation.

“Four High Court female judges have ruled that the High Court has the power to extend time while six male Judges have overruled it. We need consistency in the High Court decision,” he said.

However, Buwembo’s lawyers led by Isaac Ssemakadde argued that Lubwama does not have the right to appeal against interlocutory matters, saying they should wait for the High Court to determine the petition and then appeal.

Interlocutory refers to an order, sentence, decree, or judgment, given in an intermediate stage between the commencement and termination of a cause of action, used to provide a temporary or provisional decision on an issue.

He said there was no need to stay High Court proceedings since Lubwama is an MP and court has not yet determined the winner of the petition. He added that this would lead to delay in justice and yet the voters want to know their rightful leader.

Earlier, Ssemakadde asked Justice Steven Kavuma who headed a panel of three justices to hear Lubwama’s appeal for leave to stay orders of the High Court to disqualify himself from the case citing bias.

They contend that since Buwembo’s legal team was from Center for Legal Aid, Kavuma would be biased in his judgment because the law firm has opened a number of cases against him. 

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