The Court of Appeal has today upheld the election of Abdul Katuntu as Bugweri County Member of Parliament.
The court dismissed a petition by Daniel Ibaale who had prayed for a vote recount due to marginal difference between the two candidates.
Katuntu was declared winner of the seat in February last year with 23,596 votes against Ibaale’s 23,195 votes. Ibaale first petitioned Jinja High Court but the case was dismissed. He then proceeded to the Court of Appeal praying for a recount of the votes.
Ibaale also said Katuntu had defamed him during campaigning by claiming that he had no house in the constituency and slept in a hotel on nomination day. Ibaale further wanted court to nullify Katuntu’s victory arguing that during campaigns, the latter went around the constituency boasting that he was the best legislator in Uganda which was not true.
In the judgement read by Court of Appeal registrar Tadeo Asiimwe, three justices including former Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, Justice Remmy Kasule and Justice Richard Buteera ruled that Katuntu was validly elected as Bugweri Member of Parliament.
The three judges said Ibaale had not provided evidence that his votes were wrongly counted as invalid and a recount would have changed the results. The judges also ruled that Ibaale didn’t furnish court with evidence that his agents were dissatisfied with the way the votes were counted.
The judges ruled that once Ibaale’s agents signed election results forms, it was proof that they were satisfied with the way the votes were counted.
The court of appeal judges also ruled that Ibaale never identified specific polling stations where his votes were wrongly counted as invalid.
The court dismissed Ibaale’s claim that he was defamed by Abdul Katuntu for lack of evidence. It also dismissed claims that he was demeaned by Katuntu’s assertion that he is the best legislator in Uganda.
The court has ordered Ibaale to pay costs of the petition in both Court of Appeal and lower courts.
After the ruling, Katuntu described his competitor as a bad loser who has been hanging onto baseless allegations.