By Micheal Odeng and Farooq Kasule
The High Court has upheld the Nakawa West MP election victory of National Unity Platform spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi.
Judge Isaac Muwata on Thursday ruled that the petitioner, Mukesh Shukla aka Shumuk, failed to adduce sufficient evidence to support his voter bribery allegations against Ssenyonyi.
“It is not prudent to merely labour allegations and the petition is hereby dismissed with costs,” he stated.
Muwata observed that Mukesh could not remember the polling stations where the alleged bribery happened, did not witness it and no affidavit was sworn to that effect.
Although Mukesh raised concerns of alterations of declaration of result forms for eight polling stations as one of his grounds, the judge said it did not affect the results in a substantial manner.
According to the judge, even if valid votes cast in the eight polling stations were given to Mukesh, the margin between him and Ssenyonyi would be big; that is Ssenyonyi’s 31,576 against Mukesh’s 959.
Immediately after the judgment, Ssenyonyi commended the court, saying it made a well-thought decision.
“I am glad that the wish of the people of Nakawa West has been upheld by the court. The petitioner has wasted a lot of time and resources on our part,” he said.
Ssenyonyi vowed to recover the costs awarded to him against Mukesh, saying he wasted his time which he would have used to amplify the issues affecting the people he represents in Parliament.
Mukesh, however, said he and his lawyers would review the judgment before announcing the next course of action.
“We want responsible leadership and what I am doing is to try to inculcate responsible leadership in him because he is people power and we are also people power,” Mukesh said.
Mukesh claimed that the election was marred by electoral irregularities such as under-declaring his votes, ferrying non-registered voters to participate in the election, as well as ballot stuffing.
The businessman-turned-politician further contended that the Electoral Commission (EC) committed material irregularities when it allegedly reduced his votes on the declaration of results (DR) forms without justification.
“EC also occasioned irregularities when they accepted DR forms that were not signed or witnessed by the presiding officer and based on the same to declare Ssenyonyi a validly elected MP,” he contended.
Mukesh further faulted EC for declaring Ssenyonyi winner of the elections when some DR form sheets were missing.
The petitioner contended that the the EC allowed people who are not registered voters in Nakawa West to vote during elections.
Mukesh claimed that after announcing election results for the polling station named LC 1 meeting palace (N-Z), the results on the DR form, which were 188, were crossed and reduced to five without countersigning and giving any justification.