Justice Steven Kavuma.

Legislators have blamed Court of Appeal head Justice Steven Kavuma of being behind the delayed disposing of election petitions, citing the one against former MP Sebuliba Mutumba, which dates back to 2011.

Section 66(2) of the Parliamentary Election Act 2005 requires the election petitions to be disposed of by the Court of Appeal within six months from date of filing.

But according to the MPs led by Gerald Karuhanga, the Ntungamo Municipality MP and Francis Gonahasa, the MP Kabweri Constituency, to date some cases that were filed during the 9thParliament haven’t been disposed of.

They say that the situation has been worsened with the impending retirement of Deputy Chief Justice, Steven Kavuma, who they accused of ‘sitting on cases’, something they argue has led to abuse of powers of the appellate court, and want the Auditor General John Muwanga to conduct a performance audit to establish why some election petitions haven’t been disposed of to date.

“The purpose hereof is to request for a performance audit in respect of Election Petition Appeals which were filed regarding the 2016 General Election in view of Article 163 of the 1995 Constitution,” their petition reads.

The legislators also blamed the delayed disposal of cases on the ‘exclusion of some justices from hearing the election appeals’, saying the action led to backlog at judgment stage, which they say goes against principles of natural justice.

“It is so sad that Court of Appeal has for long been sitting on election petition appeals contrary to the law,” Karuhanga said.

To augment their argument, the MPs pointed out the election petition against former MP Sebuliba Mutumba, slapped on him in 2011, but which hasn’t been resolved to date.