National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate Peter Mugema aka Panadol has been declared the Iganga Municipality Member of Parliament.
Announcing the ruling, Court of Appeal judges led by former Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma and Justices Catherine Bamugemereire and Cheborion Barishaki overturned a decision of Jinja High court Judge Margaret Mutonyi, who heard the petition filed by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Abdul Nasser Mudiobole.
She had ruled that ‘Panadol’ bribed the Bethel Healing Church members with Shs300, 000 during the process of elections, but in their ruling today, the Court of Appeal Judges said the complainant failed to produce substantial evidence linking Mugema to voter bribery, ballot stuffing among other alleged electoral irregularities.
“We therefore maintain Peter Mugema as the MP for Iganga municipality,” the CoA judges ruled, and ordered the FDC candidate Mudiobole to pay all costs that Mugema has incurred from the High Court to the Court of Appeal.
“God can never be bribed, they rigged and framed me, and we have won the game,” an overjoyed Panadol, who was represented by lawyers from Kiwanuka and Karugire Advocates, told journalists and supporters outside court.
He added that the nullification of his victory was being driven by malice. “They were witch-hunting me over y my decision of rallying behind and nominating Kampala central legislator Muhamad Nsereko who was vying for deputy speakership of the August house,” he said.
In 2016, Panadol was declared MP for Iganga Municipality by the district returning officer. However, his rival Mudyobole petitioned court challenging his victory.
And in 2017 the Jinja High Court annulled Panadol’s victory on grounds of voter bribery and declared Mudiobole as MP.