By Ambrose Kweronda
The Court of Appeal in Kampala has thrown out an appeal challenging the election of Security Minister, Jim Muhwezi as the Rujumbura County Member of Parliament.
FDC’s Fred Turyamuhweza Tumuheirwe who was the runners up in the January 14 polls petitioned the High Court seeking to have Muhwezi’s election overturned over voter bribery, ballot stuffing and intimidation of voters.
The High Court however threw out the petition prompting Tumuheirwe to challenge the same in the Court of Appeal.
On Tuesday, a panel of three justices of the Court of Appeal including Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota and Christopher Gashirabake reasoned with the earlier decision of the High Court to rule that Muhwezi was rightly elected and declared as the Rujumbura County MP.
“We have not found evidence to support the appellant’s allegation of bribery against the first respondent. The learned trial judge was therefore right in finding that the appellant didn’t cite any provisions of the law not complied with,” the three justices said.
The judges consequently ruled that the entire petition collapses and therefore dismissed with each party to bear their own costs.
“The first respondent, Jim Katugugu Muhwezi remains the validly and lawfully elected Member of Parliament for Rujumbura County constituency in Rukungiri district as a result of a parliamentary election held on January 14, 2021.”
Speaking to journalists shortly after the judgment, Muhwezi said his lawyers had put up a spirited fight that saw him triumph both at the High Court and Court of Appeal.
“We are now going to embark on the development of Rujumbura,” Muhwezi said.
Muhwezi’s lawyers led by former minister, Mwesigwa Rukutana of Mwesigwa Rukutana and Company Advocates said at last justice had been served after a protracted legal battle right from the High Court.
“We are happy that finally the Court of Appeal has found the truth but it’s absurd that usual practice of awarding costs has not been done. The appellant unjustly dragged out client to court with no merit in his case. He should have been condemned to costs,”Rukutana said.
He however said he will not challenge the decision of the court in not awarding costs.
“It is the people of Rukungiri who voted Jim Muhwezi into this position and they have won the case. First round was to vote him overwhelmingly and they did it. The second and third rounds were for court to uphold his victory.”
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