The NRM tribunal chaired by Enoch Barata has stopped the nomination of Godfrey Kaguta aka Sodo who was earlier declared Mawogola North NRM flagbearer.
Mr Kaguta, a brother to President Yoweri Museveni defeated his rival Shartsi Kutesa who doubles as Minister Sam Kutesa’s daughter with 1580 votes.
NRM electoral chairman Dr Tanga Odoi thus handed Sodo the flag. However, his rival rushed to seek redress in the tribunal which was instituted by the President to settle electoral disputes arising from the hotly contested NRM primaries across the country.
After conducting thorough investigations, Barata and team on October 14, issued a ruling stopping Sodo from seeking nomination in Electoral Commission as Mawogola North MP candidate.
The Tribunal legitimizes all the allegations raised by Kutesa and therefore forwarded the matter to party’s highest organ- CEC to take a decision.
Below we reproduce the tribunal’s ruling.
The Petitioner filed 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 whatever, 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 0ctober 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 station was illegally cancelled after being duly ascertained. She stated that she polled 324votes while the Respondent polled 27 votes at that polling station Evidence was led that while voting took place and the counting was done there were several violent disruptions.
Following the violent disruptions, apparently a fresh election was conducted at the polling stations at 5 pm or shortly thereafter while several voters had dispersed.
Furthermore, that at Kyenshama, Kyemambo and Dispensary. Serinya, Kyizaano and Kanyumba, there were no elections held due to violence of the Respondent’s supporters.
She wondered how the Respondent has results in some of those polling stations and 00 votes result for each candidate was recorded in three of the aforesaid polling stations.
The Petitioner further complained that there was violence at Market Zone polling station where the NRM Chairperson for the zone was manhandled and her supporters sent away by the Respondent’s supporters.
That due to the violence, the result at that polling station did not reflect the will of the people.
The Petitioner asserted that the violence was committed by persons who were putting on shirts with the Respondent’s image.
The Petitioner averred that there was substantial effect of the foregoing malpractices on the final result in that if the Respondent’s recorded result at three polling stations of Kyenshama, Kyemambo and Dispensary are excluded from the tally and the result for Kikoma added thereto, she would win the election by a margin of more than 200 votes.
She prayed that since it was already too late for any fresh election to take place in any part of the Constituency, either that the results of Kyenshama, Kyemambo and Dispensary be excluded from the tally and the result for Kikoma added thereto or no flag bearer should be declared for the Constituency.
The Respondent SODO KAGUTA GODFREY AINE denied all allegations levelled against him. He denied that he ever ferried any voters to vote in the Constituency or that he participated in any violence against the Petitioner or her supporters. He asserted that at no point did he instruct anyone to carry out violence or intimidation in any part of the Constituency. He informed the Tribunal that there were no cases of violence reported to Police against him or his supporters or any evidence of ferrying of voters brought by the Petitioner.
Instead, said the Respondent, it was the Petitioner who was ferrying persons to vote in the Constituency and were arrested by Police in Bukomansimbi.
The Respondent conceded that there was no election held at Serinya, Kyizaano and Kanyumba polling stations.
But that it meant no candidate got any result from these areas. He contended that there were elections held at Kyenshama, Kyemambo and Dispensary.
While none of the persons in the video was the respondent, we find the evidence persuasive that the election was marred by violence. It is not proved however that these actions were sanctioned by the Respondent or his agents or even known to the Respondent but be that as It may, it affected the election.
On the issue of ferrying of voters, the Petitioner was only able to give evidence of three persons allegedly ferried from Kazo and Kampala and voting at a single polling station.
Even then, the Petitioner could only identify one of those persons by name.
Moreover, the Petitioner was unable to demonstrate the numerical effect that the alleged ferrying would have had on the final result. Regarding whether elections were held at Kyenshama, Kyemambo, Kikoma and Dispensary Ward polling stations, the Tribunal is not convinced that elections were held at those polling stations.
The Tribunal is unable to conclude that the Petitioner’s 00 score at those stations was as a result of proper exercise of voter franchise. We are persuaded that in some stations polling took place a second time at 5 pm or shortly thereafter which was way beyond the close of voting.
The Tribunal, agrees with the Petitioner that the result at Kikoma polling station was illegally cancelled. No polling official has the legal power to cancel any results once they have been duly ascertained.
Any other election at that polling station had therefore, no legal basis. Accordingly, the Tribunal would add 342 votes on the Petitioner’s final tally and 27 votes on the Respondent’s final tally as results obtained by the candidates at Kikoma polling station.
The Tribunal also finds that it was illegal to exclude result at Kasaalu polling station from the final tally and accordingly, would include those results: 83 votes for the Petitioner and 77votes for the Respondent.
The Tribunal also finds that, as argued by the Petitioner and conceded by the Respondent, there were no elections in several villages, no candidate obtained any votes that were added into the final tally.
While all candidates were affected in the same way, the Tribunal finds that the voters were unjustifiably disenfranchised.
Moreover, it is to be noted that the elections of this constituency had been suspended owing to violence and malpractice on and before 4th September 2020 to enable the voters exercise their franchise.
It was not demonstrated before the Tribunal that there was any justifiable reason the election did not take place at the three polling stations of Serinya, Kyizaano and Kanyumba.
He prayed that the petition is dismissed and the result of the election upheld.
In rejoinder, the Petitioner stated that her supporters did not abscond from the election but were prevented from participating in the election due to violence and intimidation by the Respondent’s supporters. That the persons allegedly being ferried by the Petitioner and arrested in Bukomansimbi were part of a team organized from Kampala to beef up the Petitioner’s agents in the Constituency.
She underscored that there was voting at Kikoma and the result was illegally cancelled. The Petitioner played a video of alleged violence during the election which the Respondent dismissed as showing only two people fighting at one polling station and none of whom was him.
The Petitioner supplied a series of video evidence that showed several supporters claiming to be her supporters properly lined up and carrying her posters. These were presented for Kikoma.
There was also video evidence showing the head of the NRM EC and the Petitioner complained that the chairman had associated with un authorised and unrecognised guards (kanyama) at the stations.
The petitioner presented as evidence, the voters registers of the national Electoral Commission to support her assertion that there was massive voter ferried in. Indeed that statistics whose areas voted with over 140% turnout.
The Tribunal is grateful to the parties for their calm and civilized presentations during the hearing. The Tribunal has also had benefit of an Independent audit of the election exercise.
In the Tribunal’s view, the evidence brought by the Petitioner to prove the allegations of ferrying of voters, violence and intimidation by the Respondent or his supporters is persuasive.
While the margin between the two candidates according to the district 71 registrar is 1,580 votes, several Incidents stand out to show a substantial effect on the election eg. 1. Assault on the LC chairman of kyenshama leading to the petitioners voters leaving before voting.
Kyenshama has approximately 1201 voters.
- Ferrying of voters to Kyemambi and Ekizano polling stations leading to a boycott by the petitioners 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 is 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.