Uganda: Court to Rule On Recounting of Kampala Central MP Votes Today

28 January 2021

By Anthony Wesaka

Mengo Chief Magistrate's Court in Kampala is expected today to pronounce itself on whether or not to order for the recount of votes for Kampala Central constituency seat.

This follows a petition disputing Mr Muhammad Nsereko's win filed by Mr Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu, the runner up in the election.

The setting of the date by presiding magistrate Esther Nansambu followed yesterday's submissions by both parties in "favour" and "against" the vote recount.

The ruling will be read out at 11am.

During yesterday's session, lawyers representing Mr Nyanzi, who is also the older brother of former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, submitted that the voting and counting process was marred by malpractice and irregularities committed by both the Electoral Commission officials and Mr Nsereko's agents.

Mr Nyanzi, who contested on National Unity Platform (NUP) ticket, polled 15,975 votes against Mr Nsereko's 16,998 votes.

Mr Nyanzi's lawyers also submitted and alleged that some of the presiding officers denied agents of their client access to 53 polling stations such as Summit View, Nakasero I and II, Hoima Road Flats, among others.

This, they say, saw some of Mr Nyanzi's agents not sign declaration forms, giving chance to Mr Nsereko and his agents to commit several electoral malpractices like altering results, changing of original copies of declaration forms and hiding original forms.

Mr Nyanzi's lawyers also argued that they took time to add up all the ballot papers whether valid or invalid that were dispatched to the said constituency and discovered that a total of 2,577 could not be accounted for.

Court also heard that the results from more than 50 polling stations had arithmetic errors which had different figures and the same cannot be explained by the electoral body and this worked against Mr Nyanzi.

However, Mr Nsereko's lawyers asked court to dismiss the application for the vote recount on grounds that the allegations raised are mere hearsay.

Mr Bernard Semuyaba, one of Mr Nsereko's lawyers, argued that Mr Nyanzi did not have documented evidence and that the declaration forms had actually been signed by his agents, agreeing to the final outcome.

This, he argued, deals away with the argument of Mr Nyanzi that his agents were chased away from various polling stations.

The Electoral Commission, which is a joint respondent to this petition, through its lawyer, Mr Hamidu Lugoloobi, argued that the alleged electoral errors resulted from prolonged fatigue by their staff but this did not in any way, affect the actual number of votes obtained by each candidate or give added electoral advantage to any candidate.

Mr Lugoloobi also said Mr Nyanzi did not inform the Commission about his intentions to seek a vote recount in seven days as the law demands and that the ballot boxes have since been transferred from the tally centres, hence the application lacks merits since its overtaken by events.

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