Court dismisses Mbabaali case, orders him to pay Ssekandi

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The Supreme Court has struck out an appeal in which Masaka District chairman Jude Mbabaali had sought to overturn a Constitutional Court dismissal of his petition challenging Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi on use of government vehicles in 2011 campaigns.

The case arose out of a parliamentary election contest for Bukoto Central Constituency in the February 18, 2011 general elections where the Electoral Commission declared Mr Ssekandi as winner.
In September 2014, the Constitutional Court dismissed Mr Mbabaali’s petition saying the petition was made before a wrong court.
“This court has no jurisdiction to entertain this petition as it raises no issues for Constitutional Interpretation at all,” the court ruled.

However, Mr Mbabaali had filed a notice of appeal in the country’s appellate court saying he was dissatisfied with the dismissal of his petition.

But in the 6-1 ruling, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe yesterday ruled that Mr Mbabaali failed to file his appeal within the time frame provided for under the rules governing the procedure of court. Others were Jotham Tumwesigye, Esther Kisaakye, Stella Arach-Amoko and Augustine Nshimye while Prof Lillian Tibatemwa dissented.

“This court is of the view that the respondent was not vigilant when he failed to file his appeal when he got the record and later file the remaining concurring judgment as supplementary record. It is the constitutional duty of the respondent (Mbabaali) who is also an advocate to act with vigour in the process of collecting the remaining judgment,” the judges ruled.

The court also ordered him to pay legal costs incurred by Mr Ssekandi in pursuing the case. The decision resulted from an application in which Mr Ssekandi argued that Mbabaali failed to take essential steps in the appeal process within the 50 days provided for under the laws.

Through his lawyers, Mr Ssekandi argued that the delay by Mr Mbabaali to file the appeal was dilatory conduct, inordinate and without reasonable execute.

In 2012, Mr Mbabaali petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking for declaration that the action of Mr Ssekandi of diverting government vehicles, fuel estimated at Shs120m and other facilities to his personal campaign was in contravention of the Constitution.

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