Election Appeal against Segirinya Withdrawn

Sulaiman Kidandala, the former Kawempe North parliamentary candidate has dropped his appeal challenging the victory of his jailed rival, Muhammad Segirinya. He communicated the decision through his lawyers of Alaka and Company Advocates in the February 17th 2022 letter to the Court of Appeal Registrar, a copy which Uganda Radio Network has seen.

“The Appellant has decided to withdraw the above election petition having lost interest to prosecute the same for a number of reasons but most of all the continued incarceration of the 1st Respondent has portrayed the Appellant as if he is on the side of the tormentors,” reads the letter.

Adding that, “this has greatly compromised the Appellant’s values of truthfully fighting for the underdog in society and progressive change. We therefore instructed to pray that the appeal is withdrawn”. The Court of Appeal Registrar Dr. Alex Mushabe received the letter during the conferencing session.

The Judiciary spokesperson Jameson Karemani confirmed the development to URN in an interview. Kidandala contested and lost to Segirinya in the January 14th, 2021 parliamentary elections. He polled 7,512 votes against 41,197 votes garnered by Segirinya. He ran to the high court accusing his rival of lack of the requisite academic qualifications and the fact that he isn’t a registered voter in Kawempe North.

However in September 2021, High Court Judge Henrietta Wolayo dismissed the application on grounds that Kidandala had failed to serve Segirinya as required by the law. Wolayo described the petition as redundant and ordered each party to bear the costs of the suit. Dissatisfied with the High court decision, Kidandala through his lawyers of Alaka and Company Advocates appealed the decision in the appellant court.

On February 10th 2022, ahead of the pretrial hearing of all the election appeals, the head of litigation in the Electoral Commission Eric Sabiiti, asked the court to dismiss the appeal on grounds that Kidandala had failed to file a memorandum of appeal, which is supposed to state the reasons as to why he is challenging the high court decision.

The Commission argued that Kidandala failed to take an essential step in the institution and prosecution of his intended appeal and as such, there was no appeal on-court record. Days later, Kidandala decided to withdraw his appeal in which he had jointly sued Segirinya and the Electoral Commission.

Segirinya is currently on remand in Kigo prisons together with his Makindye West counterpart Allan Ssewanyana on charges related to terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism, murder and attempted murder. The charges stem from their alleged involvement in the Greater Masaka region machete killings, which claimed more than 20 lives of people between July and September 2021.