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High Court Dismisses Suit Against NUP Leadership :: Uganda Radionetwork
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High Court Dismisses Suit Against NUP Leadership

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However, in his ruling on Wednesday, Justice Musa Ssekaana, the Deputy head of High Court Civil Division disregarded all grounds for the case and instead focussed on the fact that the case was filed in a manner that abused the court process.
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The High Court Civil Division has dismissed with costs, a suit in which four founding members of the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party-NURP were challenging the changes that led to the transfer of its leadership to Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.

The members Difas Basile and Twaha Hassan filed the suit against the Electoral Commission, Attorney General, Robert Kyagulanyi- the President of National Unity Platform and other leaders of the new political outfit.

The applicants accused Moses Nkonge Kibalama, the founder president of NURP and his Secretary-General Paul Simbwa of fraudulently passing on their party to Kyagulanyi in disregard of the laid down procedures. The petitioners also accused Kibalama of illegally changing the party name, logos and symbols, among others, as printed in the National Gazette on August 12, 2019.  

During the court hearings, Principal State Attorney Wanyama Kodoli and Principal Election Officer Samuel Kiyingi told the court  that the NURP leadership had attempted since 2004 to change the party name and symbols but never had the required documents.  

But on July 21 2020, the party presented a list of its new party leaders together with the necessary minutes of the delegates conference held a week before, the basis of which the changes were approved by the Electoral Commission. The two government lawyers also argued that there was no evidence to prove that the applicants  were founder members of NURP.   

However, in his ruling on Wednesday, Justice Musa Ssekaana, the Deputy head of High Court Civil Division disregarded all grounds for the case and instead focussed on the fact that the case was filed in a manner that abused the court process.

Ssekaana explained that the application which was seeking for a judicial review was filed after a year yet such applications are supposed to be filed within three months after being aggrieved with a certain decision. According to Ssekaana, the application was filed on August 24, 2020, yet it should have come to the courts by June 6, 2019.

“An application for judicial review shall be made promptly and in any event within three months from the date when the grounds of the application first arose, unless the court considers that there is a good reason for extending the period within which the application shall be made’, said Ssekaana. 

He added that allowing such applications filed contrary to the required procedure would make every potential litigant rush to the court in any manner they deem fit, rendering the statutory provisions meaningless and non-existing.  He accused the applicants of scheming to make some money during the election season, even without  agenuine grievance.

Although Kibalama and Simbwa were initially not applicants to the case, Justice Sekaana has ruled that during the hearing, they changed their evidence and indeed sought to agree with the original applicants. They told the court that they had not received their payment of USD 5 million, which was promised to them at the time the changes were made.

To that effect, Justice Ssekaana noted that using his inherent powers as a Judge, he decided to put Kibalama and Simbwa on the list of applicants basing on their testimonies. Accordingly, he dismissed the application and ordered that all the four applicants; Kibalama, Simbwa, Twaha and Basile pay costs to the respondents in his decision delivered to parties via email. 

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