Jim Muhwezi

The Court of Appeal in Kampala 0n Tuesday 24th May, 2022 indefinitely suspended an appeal challenging the election of Security Minister, Jim Muhwezi as the Rujumbura County Member of Parliament.

FDC’s Fred Turyamuhweza Tumuheirwe who was the runner up in the January 14 polls petitioned the High Court seeking to have Muhwezi’s election overturned over voter bribery, ballot stuffing and intimidation of voters.

The High Court, however, threw out the petition prompting Tumuheirwe to challenge the same in the Court of Appeal.

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On Tuesday, a panel of three justices of the Court of Appeal including Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota and Christopher Gashirabake reasoned with the earlier decision of the High Court to rule that Muhwezi was rightly selected and declared as the Rujumbura County MP.

“We have not found evidence to support the appellant’s allegation of bribery against the first respondent. The learned trial judge was therefore right in finding that the appellant didn’t cite any provisions of the law not complied with,” the judges ruled.

The judges consequently ruled that the entire petition collapses and therefore dismissed with each party set to cover their costs.

“The first respondent, Jim Katugugu Muhwezi remains the validly and lawfully elected Member of Parliament for Rujumbura County constituency in Rukungiri district as a result of a parliamentary election held on January 14, 2021,” they added.

Speaking shortly after the judgment, Muhwezi’s lead lawyer Mwesigwa Rukutana of Mwesigwa Rukutana and Company Advocates questioned why Tumuheirwe was not stressed about fines of losing the case.

Rukutana said the appellant (Tumuheirwe) unjustly dragged his client (Muhwezi) to court when he had no vast evidence of the allegations. He said he should have been condemned to costs for the damages caused.

“We are happy that finally the Court of Appeal has found the truth but it is absurd that the usual practice of awarding costs has not been done,” Rukutana said.

“It is the people of Rukungiri who voted Jim Muhwezi into this position and they have won the case. First round was to vote for him overwhelmingly and they did it. The second and third rounds were for the court to uphold his victory,” he added.