Masindi High Court on Tuesday afternoon dismissed an election petition filed by Sam Otada Amooti against former President Idi Amin’s grandson Taban Idi Amin Tampo and the Electoral Commission due to insufficient evidence.
Otada the former MP Kibanda County filed a petition citing voter bribery, questionable identity and voter intimidation.
Tampo is the son to Maj. Gen. Taban Idi Amin.
Otada contested in the same constituency as Tampo after Kiryandongo district was divided into two constituencies.
"One identity reads Idi Amin Taban Tampo, whose national identity I saw and happens to be a registered voter. He however has no academic documents. The other is Taban Idi Amin, who has academic documents, but is not a registered voter.
Therefore, court will have to decide who this gentleman really is," Otada told New Vision in June this year after court started hearing the petition.
Represented by Asuman Nyonyintono of Wagabaza and Company Advocates, the petitioner stated that the first respondent should have followed legal procedures which include swearing an affidavit in order to change names.
According to Nyonyintono, Tampo changed his names in order to popularize himself during the campaign period.
Caleb Alaka of Alaka and Company Advocates, who represented the first respondent, however told court that the difference in writing names did not in any way affect the elections because people referred to the first respondent with any one of the names.
Sebastian Orach, the second respondent’s representative said, “At the time of nomination, we verified and found out that there was no other person in the same names who had been nominated.”
However court presided over by Lady Justice Elizabeth Nahamya ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that the issue of identity affected results.
She ruled that no one had ever come up to claim to be either Idi Amin Taban Tampo or Taban Idi Amin Tampo.
“The first respondent owned up when he deposed that all names are referred to him,” Justice Nahamya said.
“I therefore find it unnecessary to waste the taxpayers’ money by overturning the elections on mismatch of names” she said.
On the issue of voter bribery, the petitioner argued that the first respondent gave out money, food and drinks to voters through his agents.
The judge however stated that no sufficient evidence was presented to clearly pin the first respondent bribing a particular voter and that it is not clear whether the money was given to eligible voters.
The petitioner told court that he had been intimidated and threatened by the first respondent on his father’s radio station VCC FM, located in Bweyale.
The petitioner’s witness Godfrey Samanya also said that he had been intimidated by the first respondent on October 27th, 2015 at Kitongozi polling station.
Court however found out that Samanya’s evidence related to National Resistance Movement primaries, something the judge said could not be relied on to determine the elections.
Justice Nahamya also ruled that there was no corroborated evidence showing that the intimidation act had been performed and apart from the petitioner and Samanya, no other person had complained of intimidation and that wouldn’t overturn results.
“The petition hereby fails and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Nahamya ruled.
“There is insufficient evidence that the respondent committed illegal acts and electoral offences personally or through his agents. The first respondent was duly elected and elections shall be maintained as valid” Justice Nahamya ruled.
When contacted, Otada said, “I am happy that the High Court isn’t the last in this matter. We are going to appeal against Justice Nahamya’s ruling.”
Fred Lukwago who represented Alaka said, “It is the petitioner’s right to appeal in case he is not satisfied with the ruling.”
Court ruled that the petitioner should bear costs of the first respondent.
Lukwago stated that they would compute and put together all the expenses which will give them an amount to present to court for verification.