Last week, Patricia Magara asked Court to allow her to amend the petition following the consolidation of the case.
The High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application to amend a
petition challenging the election of Hassan Kirumira as the Member of Parliament
for Katikamu South.
Last week, Patricia Magara asked Court to allow her to amend the petition
following the consolidation of the case. The petitioners sued the Electoral
Commission and Hassan Kirumira of the National Unity Platform-NUP who was
declared winner of the Katikamu South Parliamentary seat.
The second petitioner Alex Nathan Ssenabulya sued only the Electoral
Commission and his case was allocated to Justice Henrietta Wolayo.
While the two cases had been allocated to different judges, the
Electoral Commission applied for the cases to be consolidated. They argued that
they arose from the same matter and both made the same demands.
Through their lawyers led by Julius Turinawe, Magara and Ssenabulya applied to
amend their petition to align them with the cases and accommodate in their
petitions any new requests.
Turinawe told the court that the amendment would not introduce any
new grounds to the cases.
However, in her ruling delivered on Thursday, Justice Margaret
Apiny said the Parliamentary Election Act 2005 doesn’t have any legal provision
that implies or expressly provides for the amendment of the petition.
She also cited the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kyagulanyi Ssentamu
Robert against Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa and two others to rule that allowing
such an application would cause delays in the case yet election petitions are
The Supreme Court ruled that an election petition is not the same
as the Ordinary Civil proceedings and that as a matter of deliberate policy to
enhance urgency, election petitions are expected to be devoid of the procedural
clogs that cause a delay in the disposition of the substantive disputes.
Justice Apiny ruled that once a petition is filed in court, an
amendment to the petition cannot be entertained especially when it is proposed
after the expiry of the time within which a petition must be filed.
“In the absence of an express provision in the Parliamentary
Elections Act and the Rules made thereunder, it cannot be said that the petitions
before me are amendable,” Ruled Justice Apiny before adding that the
application is untenable and that hearing of the case shall proceed based on
the filed petitions.
Magara alleges that the elections were marred by several irregularities.
She cited the inclusion of Ssenabulya Alex Nathan on the ballot paper yet he
was not nominated as a candidate in the Katikamu South Parliamentary Election.
Magara further alleges that the Electoral Commission made glaring
errors and false entries into the Declaration Forms which had a significant
impact on the final results.
Ssenabulya alleges that the elections were not free and fair because the
Commission did not include his name on the final Declaration form of results
yet he was nominated and elected.
The Electoral Commission declared Hassan Kirumira of the National
Unity Platform as the winner of the January 14th elections having polled 21,197
votes against Magara’s 8,132 votes.