BY AWORI ESTHER LUCY
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| The National Unity Platform (NUP) President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has applauded the ‘independence’ of justice Musa Ssekaana amidst what he called a system of rotten institutions after he dismissed with costs, a case filed against him.
On Wednesday, Ssekaana dismissed a case that was filed against Kyagulanyi’s leadership and the acquisition of National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party (NURP now NUP) by two founding members; Difas Basile and Twaha Hassan.
The applicants accused Moses Nkonge Kibalama, the founder president of NURP and his secretary-general Paul Simbwa of fraudulently passing on the ownership of their party to Kyagulanyi in disregard of the laid down procedures. The petitioners also accused Kibalama of illegally changing the party name, logos and symbols, among others, as printed in the National Gazette on August 12, 2019.
During the court hearing, principal state attorney Wanyama Kodoli and the principal election officer Samuel Kiyingi told the court that the NURP leadership had attempted since 2004 to change the party name and symbols but never had the required documents.But on July 21 2020, the party presented a list of its new party leaders together with the necessary minutes of the delegates conference held a week before, the basis of which the changes were approved by the Electoral Commission. The two government lawyers also argued that there was no evidence to prove that the applicants were founder members of NURP.
However, in his ruling on Wednesday, Ssekaana, the deputy head of High court Civil Division disregarded all grounds for the case and instead focussed on the fact that the case was filed in a manner that abused the court process.
Ssekaana explained that the application which was seeking for a judicial review was filed after a year, yet such applications are supposed to be filed within three months after being aggrieved with a certain decision. According to Ssekaana, the application was filed on August 24, 2020, yet it should have come to the courts by June 6, 2019.
The judge added that allowing such applications filed contrary to the required procedure, would make every potential litigant rush to the court in any manner they deem fit, rendering the statutory provisions meaningless and non-existing. He accused the applicants of scheming to make some money during the election season, even without having a genuine grievance.
Although Kibalama and Simbwa were initially not applicants to the case, Sekaana said that during the hearing, they changed their evidence and indeed sought to agree with the original applicants. They told the court that they had not received their payment of $5 million, which was promised to them at the time the changes were made.
Kyagulanyi described the case as bogus and thinks that it was only brought up to vulgarise and disrupt the pace at which NUP was moving in the run-up to the 2021 elections. However, he added it was encouraging to know that there are judges who still stand for the value of speaking the truth and protect their integrity.
“We know that we live in a country where institutions have more or less died, but again we’re glad to know that even in rotten institutions, there are still those Ugandans who will stand for values and we applaud them. Fellow Ugandans out there, continue believing in the truth because yes, it is the truth we stand for and the truth shall prevail,” said Kyagulanyi.
Medard Lubega Sseggona, the Busiro East MP who was leading the legal team of NUP in the case, called upon all Ugandans seeking for change to take the mantle in the main war of ousting President Museveni’s NRM regime.
“The struggle is not over, but this is a struggle against the people of Uganda,” he said