HERE IS HOW JUSTICE MARGARET APINYI MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR NYANZI TO DEFEAT MP NSEREKO
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By Mulengera Reporters
Even as he petitioned Court challenging the outcome of the Kampala Central MP Election race, Fred Nyanzi Sentamu was always fearful and doubtful he would ever get justice against such a deeply connected and entrenched incumbent legislator. And this clearly came to pass a few days ago.
In her pro-Mohammed Nsereko judgment, Justice Margaret Apinyi intriguingly agreed with EC lawyers Eric Sabiiti & Hamidu Lugolobi (who, with her permission, also doubled as Nsereko’s)’s argument that, to prove they properly effected service, the petitioner Fred Nyanzi Sentamu of NUP party and his lawyers should have obtained a copy of the land title and tendered it in court to prove that the Bugolobi house/property where they delivered court papers indeed belongs to the Kampala Central MP.
While totally ignoring clear precedence set in the Jude Mbabali case (Court of Appeal) and Lulume Bayiga’s (Supreme Court) many years ago, Justice Apinyi held that Nyanzi’s petition was incompetently before court simply because his efforts to personally serve Nsereko directly weren’t successful as the man barricaded himself making it hard to be accessed.
She also faults Nyanzi for not applying afresh before her to be allowed to serve Nsereko through newspapers (substituted service) even when the same court had previously declined to grant the same request under Justice Philip Odoki. The judge recognizes the fact that Nsereko’s elusiveness and ruthless home guards made it clearly impossible for Nyanzi to personally serve him as Justice Odoki had directed but instead of indicting him, she blames the petitioner Nyanzi for not applying afresh before her seeking to be authorized to go for substituted service via newspapers.
On analyzing Apinyi’s 15 page judgment, you clearly see a judicial officer desperate to get out of the case on mere technicality as opposed to substantively inquiring into stuff Nyanzi was alleging. It’s reminiscent of the one against Mohammed Segirinya which Justice Henrietta Wolayo dismissed, riding on mere technicality, by way of her four page judgment!
If allowed to stand, without being successfully challenged in Court of Appeal, the two very anomalous High Court decisions simply mean it will in future be impossible (not just hard) to successfully sue or petition against election victory of any MP. All one has to do is to hide as much as they can to ensure that the petitioner, seeking to challenge their election victory, can’t physically access them to effect personal service.
We only hope this way of adjudicating election disputes is a result of the pressure under which the honorable Justices (these days much better remunerated than at any one time in this country’s history) have come under having to deliver judgments or dispose of cases in such limited time. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).