Court of Appeal on Friday confirmed Hon Adidwa Abudu as the duly elected Member of Parliament for Bukooli County in Namayingo District after dismissing with costs an appeal filed by Wasige Akim Wamudanya, challenging the former’s victory.
In their unanimous decision, justices; Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Christopher Gashribake noted that Jinja High Court acted with in the law when they dismissed the election petition which was filed by Wasige, a former contestant on the same seat.
In the petition before Jinja High court judge Geofrey Namundi, Wasige contended that Adidwa lacked the minimum formal education qualifications (Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) or its equivalent to contest as the Member of Parliament.
High Court judge Geofrey
Being disatisfied with the Hight Court decision, Wasige appealed on grounds that the learned Trial judge erred in law and in fact when he rejected the appellant’s application to amend the petition and secondly; dismissed the appellant’s petition on grounds of having been filed under a wrong law.
In their findings, the justices emphasized that timelines in electoral petitions are key and need to be observed basing on their uniqueness which involves suspending hearing of all other pending cases untill the petitions are fully heard and disposed of.
“It was the trial Judge’s observation that the petition was on the court file for 4 months but the petitioner did not take the initiative to rectify the anomaly in the given time lines. This is evidence of dilatory conduct. There is no doubt that the intention of the time lines in the election petitions is to avoid delays,” noted Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire in the lead judgement.
Court also noted that if there was an issue which deserved ammendments, it could have been done during this period but failure to do so affceted other court users because ammending the petition could just mean a fresh hearing of the petition which could have denied other court users an opportunity to be heard.
“For the above reasons we find no merit in the appeal, it is therefore hereby dismissed with orders that; the 1st Respondent was validly elected as a Member of Parliament for Bukooli South Constituency.”
The respondent was awarded costs at both the lower court and appeal level.