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Supreme Court Summons Petitioner Over Abusive Language

In his petition drafted in form of talking points before the Justices, Ssebaduka wondered how a sensible person would subject presidential aspirants to going to look for signatures of their supporters from two thirds of the country and then afterwards subjected them to virtual elections and campaigns.
Ivan Ssebadduka who has been summoned by Court over abusive language

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A panel of seven Supreme Court justices has ordered a man who used abusive language in his petition to return to them next week and show cause why he shouldn't be found in contempt of court.

Ivan Ssebadduka in September filed what he called a Presidential Election Petition against the Health Ministry, Electoral Commission Chairperson Simon Byabakama and President Yoweri Museveni. In the petition, he accused the said respondents of a wide range of conducts and wrongs key of them that they are reportedly ignorant, unintelligible about corona virus and the basics of the pandemic.

In his petition drafted in form of talking points before the Justices, Ssebaduka wondered how a sensible person would subject presidential aspirants to going to look for signatures of their supporters from two thirds of the country and then afterwards subjected them to virtual elections and campaigns.

The Electoral Commission had ordered that due to the outbreak of COVID-19, they were to follow the measures put in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19 during the election process and in line with that, they were only going to hold scientific campaigns and elections.

The EC also asked presidential aspirants to look for signatures of their supporters from two thirds of the total number of districts before they are nominated in a two days' session which ended on Tuesday.

But Ssebaduka argued that it doesn't make sense for them to do so noting that if indeed COVID-19 exists, the presidential aspirants were to contract it during the course of looking for signatures.

Ssebadduka who said he was a presidential aspirant asked court to scrap the scientific campaigns and also waive the condition of looking for signatures before nominations.

But all the respondents jointly opposed the applications.

The Ministry of Health through the State Attorney Richard Adrole argued that it had been wrongly sued as all legal actions made against Government should be filed against the Attorney General.

Then the Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama who was represented by the Commission's lawyers led by Eric Sabiiti and Hamidu  Lugoloobi argued that Ssebadduka had abused the court process as he should have filed his petition before the High Court and that it was wrong for him to sue Byabakama.

  The two Senior Legal Officers argued that the Electoral Commission’s Act provides that an official of the Commission cannot be sued in their individual capacity unless they have acted in bad faith which wasn’t the case here. They also noted that one cannot file a presidential elections petition before elections are conducted.

  President  Museveni on his part through his lawyers led by Edwin Karugire noted that as a sitting president he enjoys the immunity and therefore he cannot be sued.

However, in their ruling today, the seven Supreme Court Justices led by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo have unanimously concurred with the submissions raised by all the respondents and dismissed the petition with costs.

Other Justices on the panel are; Stellah Arach Amoko, Percy Night Tuhaise, Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba, Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Mike Chibita. 

They noted that Ssebadduka abused the court process and besides this, he used abusive language to the extent that he abused everyone involved in his petition including Justices of the court and the only person he didn't abuse was himself.

  The Justices noted that apart from demeaning the sanctity of the Justices, his petition lacked any merit and there is no way any reasonable tribunal would ever entertain a petition framed out of abusive language like his.

  They said in the interest of justice and fairness, Ssebadduka should be punished for his abusive language.

  As such, they directed that he appears before them on November 11 2020 and explain why he shouldn't be found in contempt of court.

Contempt of Court is the only offense that is not laid out in the Penal Code Act as it may have both civil and criminal elements. However, for such conducts that arise from between proceedings, section 107 of the Penal Code Act states that a person who may found in contempt of court commits a  misdemeanor.

Section 22 of the Penal Code Act also provides that a general punishment of such misdemeanors may not exceed two years imprisonment. The Judge may also use their discretion to punish the person to any sentence. 

Speaking to URN after the decision, Ssebadduka dressed in a black suit and sunglasses said that he did not expect his petition to succeed when being heard by such justices, and he repeated his abusive words against the different oarties and institutions involved.

//Cue in: “Toyinza kugamba nti…

Cue out: …such incompetent fools”.//

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