By Kwame Isma Nkurunziza
Shartsi Musherure Kutesa, the daughter of Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kahamba Kutesa, has insisted that the won the National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries, despite being denied victory by the Tribunal that has been handling petitions that resulted from the election.
Following the contentious election that was marred with violence, vote rigging and other malpractices, Musherure, who was contesting against President Yoweri Museveni’s brother Godfrey Aine Kaguta aka Sodo, petitioned the Tribunal led by Enoch Barata, which was put in place by President Museveni to hear petitions from all aggrieved NRM candidates who were not satisfied by the results of the primaries.
However, although Musherure won the petition after the Tribunal accepting that there were a lot of discrepancies, including violence, intimidation, ferry voters from other places, among others, the same Tribunal declined to grant her victory and to endorse her as the NRM flag bearer for the Mawogola North MP Seat in the 2021 election.
But despite the Tribunal’s ruling, which has since resulted in NRM forfeiting to front a candidate for the much-contested position, Musherure insists that she is the winner.
She wrote thus on her social media platforms to express her victory;
“My dear supporters, we can only accept if we genuinely lose. With all that was observed in the primaries, our petition was honored but we had limited time to correct that went wrong. The decision clearly depicts that we are winners. With the genuine votes we got, we are good enough to represent Mawogola North. I will lead this team to victory. I honor the people of Mawogola North.
Thank you H.E for your intervention, thanks to the NRM election tribunal.
Time for registered natives of the land to have their votes decide.”
“The Petitioner flied her petition alleging that there was voter importation, use of violence, and intimidation of her supporters by those of the Respondent.
Furthermore, that there was disenfranchisement of voters through exclusion of certain villages from the voting process.
The Petitioner complained that the result for Kasaalu polling station was without any reason whatsoever, excluded from the final tally. Also, that the result for Kikoma polling station was illegally cancelled after being duly ascertained.
Lastly, that there was unilateral action (s) taken by some NRM electoral officials at the several polling stations that had a direct impact on the final vote tally.
In the petition, the Petitioner prayed that fresh elections be held in the eight villages of Serinya, Kyizaano, Kanyumba, Kyenshama, Kyemambo, Kikoma, Kyolora and Dispensary Ward.
Hearing and Evidence
The Petitioner and the Respondent were both heard on the afternoon of Thursday 08th, October, 2020 at the NRM EC Headquarters.
At the hearing, the Petitioner amplified her allegations in the petition.
She gave evidence of three persons at Byesika polling stations who she stated were not from the Constituency but were ferried from Kazo and Kampala.
She Informed the Tribunal that the result for Kikoma polling nation was illegally cancelled after being duly ascertained. She stated that she polled 16I04 votes (42%) and dissatisfied with the final results which showed that her rival had won the elections with 17343 votes or 46% of the votes cast.
While the margin between the two candidates according to the district registrar is 1.580 votes, several Incidents stand out to show a substantial effect on the election eg.
- Assault on the LCI chairman of Kyenshama leading to the petitioner’s voters leaving before voting. Kyenshama has approximately 120 voters.
- Ferrying of voters to Kyemambi and Ekizano polling stations leading to a boycott by the petitioner’s supporters. These stations have a combined population of about 450 voters.
- Voting at Kikoma after 5pm which was an Illegal second vote, Kikoma has approximately 1,400 voters from the Investigations carried out.
The results in the polling stations marred by violence and ferrying of voters cannot stand.
The Tribunal was minded to order a re-election in the above affected villages but this cannot be achieved with the time left to nominations for the general election.
All In all, the Tribunal finds that the actual winner of the election cannot be established in light of the irregularities enumerated.
Consequently, it is the decision of the Tribunal that the petition succeeds.
However, without the proper exercise of voter franchise, the Tribunal Is not able to pronounce a winner of the election as Indeed the vote did not.
The Tribunal therefore recommends the parties to the highest party organ. The Central Executive Committee for directions. ”
Meanwhile, we have learnt that Musherure and Sodo have both since resolved to contest as Independent candidates in the 2021 election for Mawogola North county, Sembabule District.