Kampala, Uganda | URN | Former parliamentary candidate Sulaiman Kidandala not only wants the court to declare that Muhammad Segirinya was not validly elected, but also find him guilty of committing electoral offences.
In his petition filed before the High Court in Kampala, Kidandala who was the runner-up in an election that attracted nine other candidates says Segirinya’s nomination papers were invalid because he did not have the requisite academic qualifications to contest for a parliamentary seat.
The law requires all persons contesting for a parliamentary seat to have an A-level certificate or its equivalent. But according to Kidandala’s petition, the O level and A level academic documents that Segirinya presented to the Electoral Commission (EC) were forged, which constitutes a crime under the Parliamentary Election Act.
According to the Act, a person who forges or delivers to the returning officer any document knowing it to be forged commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 120 currency points (2.4 million Shillings) or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.
If Kidandala is able to prove that Segirinya forged academic papers, he faces a possibility of spending the next five years not in parliament but in prison.
Kidandala also alleges that Segirinya’s nomination was not accompanied by the names and signatures of a minimum of ten persons who are registered voters in the Kawempe North constituency as required by the law. Worse still, the petition alleges Segirinya’s nomination paper was not signed and countersigned in accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act.
The petition further says that Segirinya was never a registered voter of Kawempe North or anywhere in Uganda. This was because by the time he officially changed his name from Richard to Muhammad Segirinya, the Electoral Commission had already finished updating the voter register.
According to documents filed in support of the petition, Segirinya gazetted his deed poll to change his name on October 13, 2020, one year after the closure of the update of the voter register.
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“Contrary to section 79 of the Parliamentary Elections Act as amended, the 1st respondent, not being a registered voter, committed the electoral offence of impersonation when he voted in the election of 14 January 2021,” the petition reads.
Segirinya defeated nine other candidates when he scored 41,197 votes against his closest challenger Kidandala who had 7,512 votes. The Principal Judge is yet to allocate files to judges who will hear and determine the cases. According to the law, the Court has up to six months to hear and dispose off all election petitions.