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.
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.
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.