Mugyenyi, in her petition that she had filed on September 5, 2018 challenged the validity of the election outcomes of Sheema Municipality arguing that it was a marred by bribery, violence, torture and illegal arrests of her supporters and agents.
Sheema Municipality MP, Elioda Tumwesigye. Photos by Adolf Ayoreka
SHEEMA - Jubilations and ululations rocked Mbarara High Court premises when the court dismissed an election petition where FDC’s former candidate in Sheema Municipality elections Plan Virginia Mugyenyi was seeking a nullification of election results against Elioda Tumwesigye.
Mugyenyi, in her petition that she had filed on September 5, 2018 challenged the validity of the election outcomes of Sheema Municipality which was held on July 27, 2018 arguing that it was marred by bribery, violence, torture and illegal arrests of her supporters and agents.
In her petition of 22 books, she noted that on July 26, 2018 Tumwesigye engaged in various illegal activities by donating and commissioning electricity poles at Rwamujojo cell in central division and Kihunda cell in Kagango division in Sheema Municipality .
Other irregularities Mugyenyi cited included none compliance to the laws according to Parliamentary Elections Act, late night voting, bribery of voters in queues on the day of voting, bribery of voters with sh200,000, which was given to women groups in each cell in the municipality, double voting, use of abusive language and making false statements by Elioda Tumwesigye.
For the second respondents (Electoral Commission), the petitioner had showed that the electoral commission failed to conduct elections in accordance with the law, which substantially affected the results of the election.
The judgment was read by Justice Joyce Kavuma on behalf of Justice Andrew and in the ruling it was revealed that the petitioner failed to prove substantially all her allegations since all her evidence adduced before court could not prove what she alleges affected the results.
According to the judgment, the petitioner through her lawyers John Isabirye and Julius Garisonga of Isabirye &Co Advocates failed to prove the allegations on the balance of probability for all the grounds that were raised in the petition.
The videos that were presented to court showing Minister Elioda commissioning electricity in the areas of Kihunda and Rwamujojo a day to the election day, which the petitioner claimed were aimed at bribing voters, were trashed by the Tumwesigye’s lawyers saying that he was invited as the an area member of parliament to oversee a government project that had been on going in the whole country.
Court, however, appreciated that there were arithmetic errors in the totaling of results on the tally sheets into the systems from the declaration forms.
“Court had the occasion to look at all the declaration forms and the figures and the number of votes cast, in some polling stations had arithmetic errors that caused variation between the number voters and the number of ballots in the ballot box, it is purely an issue of poor entry of figures, since only valid votes are taken into account, the arithmetical errors of the declaration forms had no significant effect on the results on the number of voters and the number ballots in the ballot boxes, the error did not affect the result of the election, ”The judgment reads in part.
It added: “Over all the petitioner has failed to prove all the allegations against the first and second respondent respectively, the few instances of errors and omissions could not affect the results in a substantial manner in its entirety and therefore, it’s dismissed with costs.”
Mugyenyi, in an interview after the ruling, she expressed her dismay in the ruling saying that it was not fair and had undue influence.
“This ruling gives me strong confidence and I am going to appeal, I cannot allow to be treated unfairly by one judge, I want to go to the court of appeal where there are three judges,” she said.
Tumwesigye was represented by Godfrey Ntambirweki Kandebe and the Electoral Commission was represented by Eric Sabiti.
It should be noted that on July 27, Sheema Municipality went to polls and Elioda Tumwesigye was declared the winner after he garnered 13,590 votes whereas Plan Virginia Mugyenyi polled 11,489 votes.