The Court of Appeal comprising Justices Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Christopher Gashirabake dismissed the appeal filed by businessman cum politician, Mukesh Shukla challenging the victory of Nakawa West Member of Parliament Joel Ssenyonyi.
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal on grounds that it was filed out of the stipulated 14 days within which to file election matters.
Shukla contested for the Nakawa West parliamentary seat in the January 14th, 2021 polls and lost to Ssenyonyi. Ssenyonyi polled 30,847 votes while Mukesh came sixth with 806 votes. Despite this, he ran to the High Court alleging that Ssenyonyi together with the Electoral Commission carried out a number of electoral offences and irregularities including ballot stuffing and failure to sign the declaration of result forms among others.
Mukesh accused Ssenyonyi of ballot stuffing at eight of the 153 polling stations and changing results at one of the polling stations where he got 81 instead of 58 votes. However, High Court Judge Isaac Muwata dismissed the case on October 14th 2021 with costs for lack of sufficient evidence. Muwata reasoned that even if Mukesh had proved any of the grounds, which he didn’t, such irregularities wouldn’t have affected the elections in a substantial manner.
According to Muwata, even if Mukesh had won at all the eight contested polling stations, he would still not change his fortunes from being the 6th to becoming the winner. Dissatisfied with the judgement, Mukesh through his lawyers led by Badru Bwango filed a notice of appeal on October 14th 2021 in the Court of Appeal. He submitted the entire record of appeal on March 24th 2022.
In his appeal, Mukesh argued that the High Court Judge erred in law and fact when he chose to dismiss the petition. Mukesh also faulted the trial Judge for failure to evaluate the evidence adduced on-court record showing that there was falsification of results, which affected the final outcome of the results.
When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, the justices led by Kiryabwire noted that despite the fact Mukesh’s petition was dismissed by the High Court in October 2021, he submitted the record of appeal last week that was not even signed.
Judges also noted that Mukesh filed an application seeking to extend the time within which to file his appeal but he neither served Ssenyonyi nor his lawyers.
Justices also noted that neither Mukesh’s lawyers nor the applicant signed the appeal and affidavit respectively.
Furthermore, the court heard that the application for extension of time was filed in the court registry at around 10 to 30 minutes after the scheduled hearing. According to the Justices, if court had started on time, Mukesh would not have found the court session. The Justices also noted that the documents were not stamped as proof that Mukesh had paid court fees.
The Justices noted that all the documents were defective since they were neither signed nor dated and there was no proof of payment. They thus dismissed the application first seeking for extension of time, saying there was no appeal.