By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The High Court in Kampala yesterday set August 31, 2021, as a date to start hearing an Election Petition filed by trounced Mukesh Shukla against Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi in the January parliamentary elections.
Businessman Shukla is challenging Ssenyonyi’s victory despite him coming in sixth in the race and now claims that he discovered reliable evidence sufficient to his petition.
Mukesh first petitioned the High Court on March 19, 2021, challenging Ssenyonyi’s electoral victory mainly on allegations of electoral irregularities such as under-declaring his votes, ferrying non-registered voters to participate in elections as well as ballot stuffing among others.
However, two months after the deadline, Mukesh filed an amended petition on May 10, 2021. In this petition, Mukesh raised fresh allegations questioning Ssenyonyi’s academic qualifications for election as a member of parliament. Ssenyonyi ran on the National Unity Platform party ticket and defeated eleven other contenders after obtaining 31,653 votes.
His National Resistance Movement-NRM rival, Margaret Zziwa Nantongo came second with 9,450 votes followed by Kenneth Paul Kakande in third position with 2,780 votes, the Forum for Democratic Change candidate Wilberforce Kyambadde came fourth with 1,512 votes while Independent candidate Acer Godfrey Okot took the sixth position with 931 votes.
Shukla Mukesh Babubhai came seventh with 806 votes followed by Robert Asiimwe with 668 votes, Christine Gloria Katusiime 479 votes, Robert Kasozi from the People’s Progressive Party 300, Zachariah Isabirye 280, Aisha Wanyama 239 votes whereas Emmanuel Tebisuula Sserumaga trailed the pack with 196 votes.
Nevertheless, Mukesh claims in his petition that on top of informing the Electoral Commission about the irregularities, by the time of Ssenyonyi’s election, he was not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament contrary to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
“That I requested for the documents submitted by the 2nd respondent/Ssenyonyi to the 1st Respondent/EC for nominations as a contestant for the said constituency. That upon perusal of the said documents, I discovered that the 2nd respondent’s names on the nomination documents differed from the name on his academic documents,” reads the amended petition in part.
According to the records before the court, during his ordinary and advanced levels of education, the legislator passed off as Joel Basekezi. He however explains that he was nominated as Ssenyonyi B. Joel to run for election as a Member of Parliament.
Mukesh further alleges that when he wrote to the Uganda National Examinations Board to verify his rival’s academic documents, he discovered that the school campus on his pass slip did not exist according to the year indicated. The schools in contention are St Lawrence Schools and Colleges Crown City Campus.
“That I verily believe that the 2nd respondent/Ssenyonyi committed illegal practices contrary to sections 68 and 72 of the Parliamentary Elections in connection with the said election personally, or by his agents with his knowledge and consent and approval,” he adds.
Now, Mukesh through his lawyers wants the court to nullify Ssenyonyi’s victory and order fresh elections in Nakawa Division West Constituency. However, Ssenyonyi asked Court to dismiss both petitions on grounds that they are baseless and lack merit arguing that it was filed out of time.