The hearing of electoral petition No.4 of 2016 which is between Sam Owor Otada Amooti versus Taban Iddi Amina as the first respondent and the Electoral Commission as second respondent on Monday failed to kick off after Justice Elizabeth Nahamya granted leave of court to first respondent to file seven more affidavits.
The petition which is before high court at Masindi is being presided over by Justice Elizabeth Nahamya. At around 10:00am when justice Nahamya entered court hall, Caleb Alaka of Alaka and Company advocates, a lead counsel representing Iddi Amin Taban asked court to give his client leave of court to enable him file more seven affidavits because he has been handling a marathon of electoral petitions in different parts of the country.
Court heard from Alaka that he has been handling eight petitions among them are; Okello Rose verses Atubo Christine in Soroti, Fred Naziri Cathy Mubanda verses Babirye Mubanda Musile in Masaka, Richard Kizito Verses Makumbi Hnery and EC in Kampala among others.
However; Otada’s lawyer, Asumani Nyonyintono of Wagabaza and company advocates rejected application filed by the first respondent’s counsel arguing that, all affidavits that Alaka intends to answer were served to him together with the petition on 7th April 2016.
Nyonyintono added that, Alaka was trying to re-answer to the petition when he filed his answer on 11th April 2016 meaning by that time he knew what he was responding to. “I would apply this court to take benefit of reading court decision of Kaija William and Electoral Commission versus Byamukama K. Kaija electoral petition number 12 of 2006. The gist of the decision is that, the deputy chief justice took cognizant that decision during hearing is a nullity”, he referred.
Caleb Alaka however maintained that he was busy handling other petitions a reason he started with apology adding that; “the decision by his lordship was quoted out of context because hearing and scheduling had not been done”.
In her ruling, Justice Elizabeth Nahamya observed that, the right to vote is s constitutional right implying that issues relating to elections are very crucial. She stated that, the matter had not commenced for hearing and therefore granted leave for extension time for the first respondent to file his seven affidavits by 7th June 2016 and serve the other parties.
Nahamya said that, the petioner will also have his rejoinder affidavits by 10th June 2016 and the matter will therefore proceed with scheduling and hearing on 10th june 2016 at 9:00am.
What the petitioner had to say
Sam Owar Otada Amooti, the petitioner told our reporter after court session said that, in matters of election petition, respondents tend to play delaying tactics and what happened in court was not a surprise.
“The first respondent has not made two appearances, at scheduling and conferencing and today (Monday) again they have put on another poor show by asking for more time. For the ends of justice to meet, we also want justice to be delivered on to them and we appreciate Justice’s decision to grant them more time after all we are going to commence hearing on 10th June 2016 and have the matter concluded with the good will of the Judge”, Otada stated.
First respondent speaks out
On the other hand, Taban Iddi Amin, who is the first respondent in the matter, told our reporter that, he should allow law to take its course because he is not a judge himself and urged his supporters to be cool because he is there as their Member of Parliament.
Why Otada petitioned court
Otada and Taban were all candidates in February 18th 2016 elections for Member of Parliament seeking to represent the people of Kibanda North after dividing Kibanda county into two constituencies.
Taban stood as NRM flag bearer whereas Otada was nominated as an independent candidate for the same seat. Electoral commission declared Taban as a winner of the elections but Otada decided to challenge his victory.
Otada said that, Taban Iddi Amin has created confusion that has never happened before because he has created two people in one and he does not know who is who. “There is Taban Iddi Amin who has academic qualifications but is not a registered voter. There is Iddi Amin Taban Tampo who does not have academic qualification but is a registered voter in the national voters’ register. If he is Iddi Amin Taban Tampo, then he is not qualified because he does not have academic qualifications much as he is a registered voter”, Otada narrated.
Otada believes that EC erred both in law and in facts by deceiving themselves that those two people are one and the same and therefore EC ought not to have nominated him because he did not qualify. He disclosed that, other issues he raised in the petition as voter bribery, ballot staffing, voter intimidation, and beating up people which they are ready to prove before court.
If Justice Elizabeth Nahamya proves that Taban Iddi Amin and Iddi Amin Taban Tampo are two different people and annuls election Taban Iddi Amin, it will imply that the fromer first grandson will not be eligible to contest in re-election of MP for Kibanda North.