Former Jinja East county MP, Paul Mwiru has described the nullification of the 2016 Parliamentary elections in the constituency by court as “half baked justice” which sets a bad precedent.
On Friday morning, the Court of Appeal declared Jinja East constituency seat vacant saying that the incumbent MP, Nathan Igeme Nabeta was wrongly elected.
The three justices of the court of appeal who included Stephen Kavuma, Richard Buteera and Paul Mugamba in their consent judgement agreed that non compliance to laws which was proved in the 2016 Jinja Municipality election affected the results.
The justices pointed out that the Returning Officer’s failure to open the tamper proof envelope before the tallying of results was erroneous and did not only affect the results of one polling station but the entire constituency.
“Our findings are that the second applicant (Electoral Commission) failed to conduct it’s mandate. The said non compliance had substantial effect to the results of the election and, therefore, the first appellant was wrongly declared and he is not a validly elected MP of Jinja East,” read the ruling.
Court has subsequently ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections as well as Nabeta to pay costs to Mwiru at both High court and Court of Appeal level.
However, commenting about Friday’s ruling, Mwiru described it as “half justice”, faulting court for making a “wrong conclusion” which he said is a bad precedent in light of the irregularities that marred the election.
“Half justice is better than no justice. I want to partially applaud their Lordships because they agree that the conduct of the election in respect of Danida polling station was tainted with fraud. They made a correct analysis of evidence but they came to a wrong conclusion in my view,” Mwiru told journalists outside court.
“I respect the decision by court but disagree with their conclusion. The judiciary have a long way to refocus on the constitutional provisions that talk about independence of the judiciary,” he added.
He descibed as ‘bad precedent’ the fact that while in effect the ruling called for fresh elections in the entire constituency, court had faulted the process of only one polling station.
“We are going to repeat the electoral process in the entire constituency yet they have faulted one polling station. But the precedent before does not point to that. The judiciary have a duty to square up the precedents”.
Mwiru said his focus is now about offering leadership to his constituents.
Similarly, FDC Deputy Secretary General, Harold Kaija said that what the party expected from court was to declare their candidate (Mwiru) as the duly elected MP.
“What we asked court to give us was to declare Mwiru as the duly elected MP, not a by-election. So, court was not fair. Mwiru was the winner,” Kaija told SoftPower News on Friday.
“Given how our elections are handled, we can not celebrate a by-election because it is like taking you back to intensive care,” Kaija added.