By The Insight Post
Friday was a tough day for the Mukono South Member of Parliament, Fred Kayondo, standing in the court dock for a period of three hours.
The legislator grasped at straws to answer one hundred seventy two questions put up to him by Musa Nakueira, the lawyer representing Wilson Male, the petitioner challenging Kayondo’s election as an MP in the recent general elections.
In the petition, Male accuses Kayondo, who ran on the Democratic Party ticket of voter bribery and using the National Unity Platform-NUP symbol and slogans on his campaign posters in the January 2021 polls.
He also argued that this did not only confuse the voters, but also affected the outcome of the polls. Kayondo took to the stand for cross examination before Justice Collins Accellam.
He agreed with the petitioner’s lawyer that one of his witnesses, Florence Nakuya who also seconded and proposed his name for nomination is not a resident within the constituency.
Evidence brought before court indicates that she is a resident at Bugabira Village in Mukungwe Masaka District.
The legislator was tasked to admit that on top of his party symbol and slogan, he went ahead to use the National Unity Platform Party Symbol and Slogan of ‘People Power, Our Power’ on his campaigning posters.
Kayondo however insisted that the slogan is used by all change loving opposition politicians in the country and that the country’s constitution trusts the same people with power when it states that power belongs to the people.
However, the petitioner’s lawyer told court that the constitution states that ‘Power belongs to the people’ but not ‘people power, our power’ whose slogan is being used by NUP contending that Kayondo confused voters.
The last two questions created a belly laugh within the courtroom when Kayondo was asked to tell court his party president and answered that Nobert Mao but failed to admit whether he is aware that the party entered into a working agreement with NRM.
Besides Kayondo, also Male could not dodge a bullet last week when he was taken to the stands for cross-examination by Kayondo’s legal team led by Erias Luyimbaazi Nalukoola.
During the cross-examination, Male failed to present evidence pinning Kayondo for using the NUP symbol on his campaign posters apart from the slogan.
Nalukoola told the court that his client used a hoe, which belongs to DP as his campaign symbol, and on the ballot.
The lawyer also argued that the ‘People Power’ slogan belongs to no political party in the country.
While being cross-examined by the Electoral Commission’s Lawyer Hamidu Lugoloobi, Male also failed to prove the allegations of voter bribery despite indicating in his affidavit that he had captured pictures and videos of the same.
In the petition, Male cited various events where Kayondo was recorded giving out money and gifts to the voters but hardly presented evidence before court.
The matter was adjourned to January 3, for further cross examination of the defendant’s witnesses.
In July this year, a panel of three Court of Appeal justices comprising Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Catherine Bamugemereire, and Irene Mulyagonja ordered the retrial of Male’s petition that Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya had dismissed on technical grounds.
Both Kayondo and the Electoral Commission asked the High Court to dismiss the petition on grounds that the Commissioner of Oaths who had commissioned Male’s affidavits did not have a valid practicing certificate at that time. Accordingly, Justice Olive Kazaarwe dismissed the petition without hearing its merits.
As a result, Male appealed against the decision, saying the judge erred in law and fact when she held that his petition was incompetent and incurably defective.
Kazaarwe was also faulted for having underlooked and condoned Kayondo’s defective pleadings and failure to consider Male’s submissions.
The Court of Appeal Justices agreed that the Judge erred when she dismissed Male’s petition for having defective affidavits yet she allowed the same from Kayondo and the Electoral Commission.
Kayondo polled 26,512 votes in the race which attracted six candidates, while Male, the challenger from the National Unity Platform obtained 4,831 votes to secure the third position in the race.