Lawyers representing Lubaga South MP,Aloysius Mukasa have protested against a move by his opponent Eugene Nassolo to bring new evidence challenging his January 14 election.
Nassolo, the runners up in the January 14 polls petitioned court challenging Mukasa’s election saying he bribed voters with face masks, soap, sugar, matooke as well as challenging his academic documents.
However, on Tuesday, Nassolo’s lawyers including Caleb Alaka, Samuel Muyizzi and Kenneth Paul Kakande told court that they have five addition affidavits they seek to file as evidence in the case.
“We have five affidavits and we seek leave of court to admit them and serve the other party. We are now ready for any directions by this court on this matter,” Kakande told court.
However, in response, Mukasa’s lawyers protested the move saying the law on parliamentary election petitions doesn’t allow filing of more affidavits after closing of pleadings.
“The petitioner(Nassolo) had a lot of time to file the affidavits while filing the petition. It is now more than five months and the court cant allow her to keep on changing the original petition since it will change the cause of action,” lawyer, Justin Ssemuyaba told court.
Mukasa’s lawyers insisted that despite having a lot of time, it is wrong for Nassolo to chose filing more evidence five months after filing her petition.
“The petitioner had all the time since filing the petition in March but five months later brings in new evidence. The new evidence would mean reopening of pleadings which cannot be allowed.”
Reasoning with Ssemuyaba, Electoral Commission lawyer, Hamidu Lugoloobi told court that election petitions are given strict timelines to be followed before being disposed of.
He however noted that Nassolo didn’t follow the stipulated timelines as required by the law.
“Election petitions have strict time frames within which the must be dispose of. The petitioner has not given any reason for filing the additional affidavits late. We are also not aware of the contents of the affidavits and are therefore prejudicial to us,”Lugoloobi said.
However, Nassolo’s lawyers led by Caleb Alaka said they had applied to court to see whether the additional affidavits could be allowed , noting that it is the discretion of the judge to either allow or throw them out.
“My Lord, pleadings in this matter have not been closed since the matter has not yet been scheduled,”Alaka said.
The lawyer said the lockdown presented unusual circumstances that denied them chance to file the additional affidavits in time .
“The respondents have not pointed out any prejudice they could suffer if the additional affidavits are allowed. There is therefore no prejudice but their fears are only speculative.”
Lady Justice Winifred Nabisinde has adjourned the matter up to 11:15am so as to make a ruling on the application for Nassolo to file new evidence in the petition.