A group of 14 lawyers has started hearing petitions challenging election of several Members of Parliament as the NRM flag bearers in the September,4 party primaries.Following the party primaries marred by scenes of violence and vote rigging, the party received a total of 465 petitions challenging the election.The NRM director in charge of legal affairs, Oscar Kihika told journalists that the lawyers started hearing the petitions on Sunday and that the process will take one week before coming up with various reports to be handed over the party electoral commission for the next course of action.“We segmented the petitions and hearing them is per region. We have started with Lango and Kigezi. It will take us a week to conclude all the petitions,”Kihika said on Sunday.The head of legal affairs in the ruling NRM party said the hearing will comprise of summoning parties involved in the petitions to come to the party electoral commission headquarters to give their side of the story.“We shall not be hearing the petitions from the ground or constituencies where they emanate from but if need arises, we shall send a team to the ground to investigate.”Kihika explained that allegations in the petitions include voter bribery, intimidation, alteration of declaration of result forms, multiple voting, ferrying of voters from one area to another and mis-entering of data in the tallying form.President Museveni recently said a panel of elders in will be set up in every region where complaints will be lodged by aggrieved party members to help solve issues arising out of the primaries.“My advice is that we should set up panels of elders per zone. As NRM members you don’t have to riot or quarrel, just write a petition and send it to the panel,” Museveni said.The ruling party director in charge of legal affairs recently said some of the petitions will be sent to the panel of elders for resolution of the issues complained about.“We shall work with these tribunals and where the petition needs to be mediated, we shall pursue this form of dispute resolution so that some of the issues are solved amicably to avoid disagreement within the party,” Kihiika said.
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