It was mixed fortunes for two Legislators today when the Court of Appeal threw one out of Parliament while another retained his seat.
Three justices led by former deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma ruled that Peter Mugema alias Panadol is the rightfully elected MP for Iganga Municipality, rescinding the Jinja High Court decision that had nullified his February 2016 election victory.
The ruling read by the Deputy Registrar of the court Esther Nambayo bashed the claims that Panadol had paid a bribe of Uganda shillings 300,000 as a donation to a church, stating that an offertory cannot be called a bribe, if given to a church.
In June 2016, Panadol went to the Court of appeal challenging the decisions of the high court in Jinja which ruled that his election was illegal and instead declared his rival, Nasser Abed Mudiobole of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), as the rightful MP.
Mudiobole had challenged Panadol’s victory saying the election was marred with irregularities.
Court awarded Panadol costs from the case.
It was a different story for Winnie Komuhangi Matsiko, the Rukungiri Woman MP whose election victory court has nullified. Justices including Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny- Dolo and Paul Mugamba ruled in favour of Matsiko’s political rival, FDC’s Betty Bamukwasa Muzanira.
Muzanira filed a petition challenging Masiko’s election and seeking a vote recount after losing the February 2016 elections. The Electoral Commission was also dragged to court in regards to the irregularities.
At the heart of the petition were results from three sub-counties of Nyakishenyi, Nyarushanje, and Nyakagyeme.
In March 2016, the Rukungiri Chief Magistrates Court dismissed Muzanira’s application with costs, forcing the FDC candidate to petition higher courts.
According to results announced by the district registrar, Pius Ahimbisibwe, Matsiko polled 58,994 while Muzanira got 54,966. Muzanira, however, accused the Electoral Commission of committing errors during the announcement of the results and in the declaration forms.