Kidandala asks court to force Kitalya prison to provide visitors’ book

Kidandala asks court to force Kitalya prison to provide visitors' book
Lawyers on the case in a discussion

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Sulaiman Kidandala has asked the High Court to order for the production of the visitors’ book at Kitalya prison so as to confirm that he served his Kawempe North parliamentary candidate rival, Muhammad Ssegirinya with the election petition.

The Electoral Commission (EC), Felix Mugiya, the deputy officer in charge of Kitalya and the Attorney General are listed as the first, second and third respondents respectively to the suit before lady justice Henrietta Wolayo.

Kidandala wants court to order the respondents to make discovery and inspection on oath of the books and documents related to the registration in the visitors’ book at the quarter guard and main entrance of Kitalya prison dated April 1, 2021. 

He also seeks an order directing the Electoral Commission (EC) to produce the authority given by the commission to one of his lawyers, Hamidu Lugoloobi to swear an affidavit in an application seeking to strike out his petition on grounds that he failed to serve Ssegirinya.

The former Kampala deputy lord mayor ran to court seeking to overturn Ssegirinya’s victory in the January 2021 parliamentary elections on grounds that he lacks the minimum advanced level academic qualifications for election as MP.

However, Ssegirinya was remanded at Kitalya prison when Kidandala filed his petition, which prompted his lawyers of Alaka and Company Advocates to obtain an order for substituted service to serve him in prison.

Last week, the Electoral Commission lawyers filed an application seeking to dismiss the petition on grounds that Ssegirinya was never served at all, adding that Kidandala’s legal team has never stepped in Kitalya to effect service.

It’s against this background that Kidandala wants the government and prison officers to produce the visitors’ books to confirm that one of his lawyers Fred Kato went there but neither Ssegirinya nor prisons acknowledged receipt of the petition.

“That the respondent being a statutory creature is responsible for the administration of prisons matters and transactions and is mandated to keep all documents relating to people who visit the prison which are in his or her exclusive possession,” reads the application.

Adding, “there is sufficient evidence that the documents/books in issue exist and are in possession, custody or power of the respondents which have not been disclosed.”

In a related development, Salim Serunkuma who came fourth in the Kawempe North MP race has also applied to join the petition. Through his lawyers led by Ibrahim Mwanje, Sserunkuma argues that he will be prejudiced if at all court grants Kidandala’s prayers to be declared the legitimate winner of the elections. 

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There was drama when the judge said all these matters should be consolidated and gave parties a break for 20 minutes to do so. The team of lawyers comprising EC, Eric Sabiiti, Kidandala’s team comprising Samuel Muyizzi Mulindwa and Kenneth Paul Kakande and Sserunkuma’s lawyer, Ibrahim Mwanje returned shortly after the break, saying the issues are complicated and can’t be consolidated.

The Attorney General was not represented. Muyizzi told the court to first dispose of Sserunkuma’s application, which will determine whether or not he joined on the petition. Following this submission, justice Wolayo told the lawyers that they misunderstood what she asked them to do before the break.

According to the judge, she directed them to go for mediation and see if they can settle matters outside the court and adjourned the matter to tomorrow September 3 for the lawyers to report on the progress of their talks.

Speaking to journalists outside the court, Kidandala’s lawyers led by Kenneth Kakande said settling the matters of Ssegirinya’s academic qualifications outside court is impossible.