The High Court in Kampala has dismissed a petition challenging the victory of Muhammad Nsereko as Kampala Central member of parliament.
National unity platform (NUP)’s Fred Nyanzi went to court and challenged Nsereko’s January 14 victory citing ballot stuffing among other irregularities and the Electoral Commission and the returning officer were listed as respondents.
However, Electoral Commission lawyers asked the court to dismiss the case on grounds that Nsereko, the third respondent had not been served.
On Tuesday, Justice Margaret Apiny reasoned with the EC lawyers that indeed Nsereko was not personally served as had been directed by the court.
“In the instant case, the service that was expected of the petitioner(Nyanzi) was by effecting serving upon the third respondent personally and not place it in a conspicuous place as was done by depositing the notice of presentation of the petition at the gate,” the justice said in a ruling delivered by the court’s registrar, Jameson Karemani.
However, Nyanzi said efforts to serve Nsereko with the petition proved futile and that when he went to his home in Bugoloobi, the police officer guarding the premises told him the legislator was not around, prompting him to leave the petition at the gate.
Nyanzi said he also went to parliament and left the petition with the speaker as well as serving the same on Nsereko’s Whats App number.
However, in her ruling, Justice Apiny said all was required was for Nyanzi’s lawyers to look for Nsereko and serve him personally with the petition.
“The attempts to serve the third respondent at parliament, Chief Magistrates Court in Mengo, his Bugoloobi residence with success and the transmission of the documents on Whats App did not amount to personal service envisioned under rule6(3) of the Parliamentary Election (Election petitions) Rules . It is therefore my finding that personal service was not effected upon the third respondent as directed by the court order.”
Consequently, the judge said the non-service of the election petition on Muhammad Nsereko means everything is struck out.
“Having found that the third respondent was not served, it, therefore, follows that the petition is incompetent and as such must be struck out. Consequently, election petition no.02 of 2021 is hereby struck out for lack of service upon the third respondent,” the judge ruled.
This is the second election petition to be dismissed by the court, after Sulemani Kidandala’s case challenging the election of Muhammad Ssegirinya as Kawempe North MP was also thrown out.