Backlash As Ugandan Minister Demands UGX 94 Million In Election Case He Lost

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The demand for compensatory litigation costs in an election petition by the Ugandan Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has stirred controversy among leaders in Kalungu district.

Early this week, Ssempijja went to Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court seeking compensation of 94.3 Million Shillings from Kalungu East Member of Parliament Francis Katabaazi and Electoral Commission, following a parliamentary election petition he argued against them in 2021.

After the January 2021 general elections in Uganda, Ssempijja went to Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court and filed an application for a vote recount, challenging the results of the Electoral Commission upon which Katabaazi was declared the winner of the Kalungu East parliamentary election against him.

According to the Electoral Commission’s official tally, Ssempijja, a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) lost the election to Katabaazi of the National Unity Platform (NUP) with 10,865 votes against 12,198 votes.

But in his application, Ssempijja argued that the Commission had wrongly tallied the results hence granting Katabaazi victory he did not deserve.

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The Masaka Chief Magistrate’s Court presided over by Charles Yeitesi granted the application but prematurely withdrew it after it emerged that two of a sample of 36 ballot boxes had been tampered with, which affected the integrity of the vote returns.


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    Ssempijja has returned to Court seeking an injunction to compel Katabaazi and the Electoral Commission to pay him litigation costs, arguing that his earlier application had succeeded but was withdrawn on technicalities he cannot be held liable for.

    Through his lawyers of Ntegyereize Ingura and Musiimenta Advocates, Ssempijja indicates that the Chief Magistrate’s Court had issued orders of costs against Katabaazi and the Electoral Commission, which was never overturned with the withdrawal of the vote recount order. 

    In his application, Ssempijja asks the Court to order Katabaazi whom he says is a direct beneficiary of the negligence of the Electoral Commission to jointly cater for his litigation costs.

    He is however facing a lot of backlash from the local government leaders in Kalungu district, who argue that his application is premised on selfish interests that are threatening cohesion which is apparently needed for the district’s progress.

    Ahmed Nyombi Mukiibi, the Kalungu district Local Council Chairperson expresses disappointment with the new application, arguing it is going to reawaken unwanted political squabbles among leaders, which is likely to affect social services delivery in the area.

    He challenges Ssempijja to reconsider the Application, indicating that the district is grappling with serious challenges that require all leaders to work together in looking for solutions from wherever they can. 

    Godfrey Kaweesa Bazadde, the Chairperson of Bukulula sub county challenges Ssempijja to lead by example and accept defeat other than prolonging unnecessary political squabbles that are tearing the district apart, to the detriment of the local community.

    Francis Katabaazi, the incumbent MP for Kalungu East indicates that he’s equally shocked by the Application that seeks to compel him to pay litigation costs in a matter that was determined in his favour.

    Meanwhile, the Masaka Chief Magistrate Sylvia Nvannungi, has set May 15th to start hearing the Application.   


     

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