Court of Appeal Confirms Nantaba As Kayunga Woman MP
A panel of three Court of Appeal Justices has on Thursday, 16th June okayed the election of former minister, Idah Nantaba as the Woman Member of Parliament for Kayunga district.
The Court dismissed a case in which Nantaba’s challenger in the 2021 general election, Ms. Birungi Kobusingye Jackline sought the nullification of Nantaba’s election on ground that she lacked the requisite academic papers and therefore wasn’t validly nominated to run for election.
Ugandan law requires a person seeking to contest for election as a Member of Parliament to possess a minimum academic qualification of A’ Level.
Ms. Birungi Kobusingye had argued before the Court that the O and A Levels certificates Nantaba presented to the Electoral Commission for nomination weren’t hers because they carried different names and that her A’ Level certificate was inscribed “supplementary” meaning she had repeated the A’ Level examination.
The impugned O’ Level certificate obtained in 1996 read it belongs to one “Nantaba Idah E” whereas the A’ Level certificate obtained in 1998 read it belongs to ” Nantaba Idah.”
According to Birungi, there was no way Nantaba could have repeated A’ Level to warrant the award of a supplementary certificate since her academic papers indicated she finished O’ level in 1996 and the two-year A’ Level in 1998 with no room for a repeat examination.
However, the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal; Justice Stephen Musota, Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire and Justice Christopher Gashirabake, didn’t buy Ms. Birungi’s allegations.
The Justices found that she had not led any evidence to support her allegations apart from mere assertions in an affidavit that the documents didn’t belong to Nantaba.
” The Appellant (Birungi) made the above averments but she didn’t exhibit the required burden of proof. It is not enough for the petitioner (Birungi) to show the discrepancy between the names and the names of their academic certificates. The petitioner has to adduce more evidence to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that the person who sat and obtained certain academic certificates wasn’t the same person who was nominated for election but someone else somewhere.” The Justices said, adding:
“As proof the Appellant ought to have produced the alleged owner of the said documents to this Court which she didn’t do.”
The Court cleared Nantaba’s academic papers to be authentic after she led evidence that she executed a statutory declaration confirming all names to belong to her.
Court was further convinced by the explanation of Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) regarding the inscription “Supplementary” on Nantaba’s A’ Level certificate. The Court heard that the inscription was borne of a mistake by Mukono Town Academy where Nantaba sat her A’ Level examinations. The school had registered Nantaba who was studying at Greenville High School ( this school didn’t have a centre number) as a private student repeating her exams whereas not.
The Justices further faulted the Appellant Ms. Birungi Kobusingye Jackline for not taking up this matter with the Electoral Commission before the election in accordance with Section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act and Section 15 of the Parliamentary Elections Act – an omission the Justices noted could have itself defeated her suit against Nantaba.