Kabale High Court Justice Moses Kawumi Kazibwe yesterday struck out 17 of the 22 affidavits that were presented by former Rukungiri district Woman MP Winfred Matsiko (NRM), in the case in which she challenges the victory for Betty Bamukwatsa Muzanira of the opposition FDC.
Justice Kazibwe decided to strike off record majority of the affidavits, and only allowed those sworn by Gracious Twinomujuni, Emmanuel Mucunguzi, Elliot Twijukye Kantu, Lovance Asiimwe and Elvis Mpanga.
These he said, were the only ones not affected by the preliminary objections raised by the respondents counsel, on grounds that they were incompetent.
Justice Kazibwe also dismissed a preliminary objection raised by Matsiko lawyers, Justus Karuhanga and Edwin Tabaro, in which they asked court to throw out 32 of the 33 affidavits which they said were filed late by the respondents.
The judge ruled that there is nothing in law that stops the respondent from filing evidence.
He noted however, that late service of affidavits is prejudicial to the petitioners preparation for hearing.
This can however, be cured by court granting the petitioner more time for filing of affidavits in rejoinder. I therefore dismiss the objection for want of merit and maintain the affidavits on record as validly filed, ruled Justice Kazibwe.
Among the arguments raised by the petitioner, Mrs Matsiko, is that Muzanira did not qualify to be nominated to contest in the by-election since she interchangeably uses the names Betty Bamukwatsa and Betty Muzanira whereas the registered voter is Betty Bamukwatsa.
She prayed to court for the nullification of the election results and a declaration that she (Matsiko) was the rightful winner, or order for fresh elections.
Matsiko further argues that the by election was not conducted in accordance with the provisions and principals laid down in the electoral law, which affected the outcome. She says it was characterized with voter bribery, voter intimidation, sectarianism, defacement of campaign posters among others.
The Rukungiri Woman MP by election was held on 31st May 2018 and won by the FDC candidate Muzanira, who had successfully challenged the 2016 victory by Matsiko, leading to courts cancellation of the initial poll.
The respondent, Mrs Muzanira contends that the 2018 by-election was free and fair and was conducted in accordance with the law.
She denies all allegations of illegal practices by her agents and adds that if any were committed it was without consent and knowledge.
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