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Court rejects request to have Kampala Central MP votes recounted

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Kampala-Uganda: Mengo Chief Magistrates’ Court has dismissed with costs the request to have a recount of votes in Kampala Central constituency on grounds that the evidence adduced by the petitioner, Mr Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu, was mere hearsay.

This ruling of the court was prompted by an application filed by Mr Nyanzi disputing MP Muhammad Nsereko’s (Indep) win and seeking a vote recount.

Mr Nyanzi who ran on the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the just-concluded parliamentary elections, is the elder brother to former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

“As noted by counsel for 1 and 2nd respondents, most of the allegations of the applicant are not based on factual evidence but based on mere hearsay. He has not even provided a single affidavit from his agent who was chased away from the polling station and didn’t sign the DR forms and neither has he produced any DR form which is not signed by any of his agents and he specifically does not name the agents like agent A, B, C has chased away from polling station D, E, and F,” Chief Magistrate Esther Nansambu ruled.

She continued: “No good cause has been shown and there is insufficient and irrelevant evidence adduced, mostly hearsay. The application for a vote recount for the Kampala Central Constituency is hereby dismissed with costs to all the respondents (Mr Nsereko and EC).”

Magistrate Nansambu further in her 40 minutes ruling, observed that Mr Nyanzi was bound by what he brought to court and that he is also bound by what his agents signed on the DR forms. Advertisement

“His agents signed the DR forms, accepting the results, so they bound him as the principal. So instead of blaming the Electoral Commission, or the 1st respondent (Mr Nsereko), the applicant (Mr Nyanzi) should now turn his guns to his agents and scrutinise them and find out if they did their work to the satisfaction of the best of his interests or probably, his agents had become double agents and didn’t act to his best interests,” the magistrate ruled.

“All the applicant’s agents on the DR forms he attached to his application, were duly signed the DR forms so court wonders which agent was chased away and didn’t sign the DR forms,” she added.

Mr Nyanzi had polled 15,975 votes against Mr Nsereko’s 16,998 votes, hence a difference of 1023 votes between the two political rivals.

He had in his application for a vote recount, raised issues of numerical errors in 53 polling stations, allegations of malpractices and irregularities by Mr Nsereko and EC staff who also chased away his agents.

He also claimed that a total of 2577 votes were uncounted for by the EC and that if the same had been included onto the tally sheet, he would have emerged the winner of the January 14 polls.

About the storage of the ballot boxes, magistrate Nansambu agreed with the lawyers of Mr Nseereko and EC that since the ballot boxes had already been transmitted back to the commission after Mr Nyanzi failed to alert the electoral body in time that he would seek a vote recount, the court could not ascertain the status of those ballot boxes to have a purposeful vote recount.

“This court cannot ascertain whether they (ballot boxes) are still intact or stuffed with ballots or can it tell whether the seals are still intact or broken; so to carry out a recount, the court should make sure that the purpose for the recount is achievable and since the court is not the custodian of the ballot boxes, it puts court at the mercy at, however, steward them and the court does want to go there,” she held.

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