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Under Intense Questioning, Mukesh Tells Court To Leave The Matter To Him And Ssenyonyi

Speaking in court on Wednesday after tense cross-examination by Ssenyonyi’s lawyers, Mukesh who admitted that he got fewer votes than Ssenyonyi, said that the court process will do nothing to settle disagreements on how the Electoral Commission conducted elections in Nakawa West.
29 Sep 2021 14:40

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Shukla Mukesh alias Shumuk, the former Nakawa West Parliamentary candidate has asked the High court to allow him and 13 others he contested with on January 14th, 2021 to resolve their election dispute.  

Shumuk is challenging the victory of Joel Ssenyonyi as Nakawa West Member of Parliament on among other grounds lack of the required academic qualifications and electoral malpractices. 

Speaking in court on Wednesday after tense cross-examination by Ssenyonyi’s lawyers, Mukesh who admitted that he got fewer votes than Ssenyonyi, said that the court process will do nothing to settle disagreements on how the Electoral Commission conducted elections in Nakawa West.

“Your Lordship, can I say something?” Mukesh asked Justice Isaac Muwata who told him to go ahead albeit off the court record. “This matter should remain between the 14 of us, not with the lawyers. It should be between the people of Nakawa for the goodness of the constituency,” Mukesh said without explicitly, saying whether he wanted to withdraw the petition.  

Asked what he exactly meant in his request, Mukesh told URN after the hearing that there is need for the politicians in Nakawa to sit down and agree on how to develop their area.

//Cue in…what I’m trying

Cue out…only one year

For his part, Joel Ssenyonyi said if indeed Mukesh wants them to have talks, then he should withdraw the petition, which he describes as frivolous and only aimed at wasting time.

/Cue in…the reason we

Cue out… him on the head,//

During the cross-examination, Mukesh stated that if there were no electoral irregularities such as ballot stuffing he would have won the race. He scored 806 votes against Ssenyonyi’s 31,653 votes.  When asked by Denis Atwijukire, one of Ssenyonyi’s lawyers to mention only one polling station where he would have been the winner had there not have been ballot stuffing, Mukesh cited Kiwatule Parish polling station. 

His response sent the court in a bout of laughter since Mukesh later told the court that he bagged one vote against Ssenyonyi’s 365 votes at this particular polling station.              

Ssenyonyi and Nancy Kirungi, an official from the Electoral Commission who swore an affidavit opposing the petition were also expected to take the stand for cross-examination. 

However, Ssenyonyi arrived in court late forcing the judge to rule that he be cross-examined on Friday this week. And for Kirungi, Abubaker Kayondo the lawyer representing the Electoral Commission said she would not come to court because she is in self-isolation having contracted COVID-19.  

“We took steps to get in touch with the deponent but we received information that she was indisposed and she was under isolation in accordance with SOPs of Covid-19. This is a matter of health… and in the alternative, if it can be medically possible, we can have a video link cross-examination,” Kyaondo told the court.

Edias Asimwe, one of Mukesh’s lawyers had asked the court that if Kirungi is unavailable for cross-examination, then her affidavit be struck off the court record. In the end, Muwata ruled that Kirungi should be cross-examined via video link on Friday and not Monday as Asimwe had asked in the interest of saving time. “This case has really taken long…, I’m sick and tired of your excuses,” Muwata said before adjoining it.