The Lands Minister and 2021 Mityana Municipality woman MP contestant is counting a major loss after being defeated by her major rival, Joyce Bagala.

The Court of Appeal has in a twist of events declared Joyce Bagala Ntatwa as the Mityana woman member of parliament, throwing out a high court ruling nullifying the election.

Nabakooba’s camp seems to be in premium tears as it  has remained silent following the final ruling. 

Bagala had appealed the ruling after her rival Judith Nabakooba ,( Lands Minister) successfully challenged the 2021 elections on grounds that there was voter bribery.

Bagala was accused of conniving with  Butebi Sembusi and MP Francis Zake, her agents to distribute 200,000 shillings to Bonny Kalema, Annet Nakaggwa, Annet Alumaiya and Varitino Sebwarida to garner votes.

The High Court Judge,Emmanuel Baguma nullified Bagala’s elections, on grounds that she facilitated voter bribery through a second party and failed to present the suspects in court to testify.

He further ruled that Nabakooba proved her case on a balance of probabilities to the satisfaction of the court. He ordered the Electoral Commission– EC to conduct fresh elections for the seat.

But Bagala appealed against the decision on grounds that the trial judge erred in law and fact because he lacked credible evidence to show she indeed distributed the money to bribe voters.

In their ruling on Friday June 24,  2022,Three Justices of the Court of Appeal including Stephen Musota Christopher Gashirabake and Geofrey Kiryabwiire overturned a High Court ruling by Judge Emmanuel Baguma in October last year. 

The court of appeal did not find enough evidence in Nabakooba’s defense because she couldn’t prove that Bagala approved the distribution of money.

Erias Lukwago, Bagala’s lawyer, agrees with the justices that there is no sufficient evidence to prove that money was given and approved by his client for distribution.

He further says this ruling should serve as a lesson for judges who nullify elections without conclusive evidence.

“We are satisfied now, the trial judge misdirected himself on matters of law and that was a miscarriage of justice. And this is a lesson to some of the Judges to appreciate the magnitude of an electoral matter. You come up with a minor detail like there was money given by someone and there was no evidence to show it was given and approved by Bagala,“ Lukwago said

An overjoyed Bagala now says she is ready to serve the people of Mityana with no reservation. She adds that Nabakooba should realize by now that the people of Mityana legitimately voted for her.

“I have been telling you we won this election and after winning, someone petitioned and we have won again. I’m sure right now she is very calm and has understood that I have defeated her.” She says 

Nabakooba who ran on a National Resistance Movement ticket lost to Bagala, a candidate of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) in the January 14, 2021 polls .Bagala polled 16,000 votes to defeat Nabakooba. 

But, Nabakooba filed a petition to challenge the outcome of the polls, alleging that Bagala was not validly elected to represent the Mityana district in parliament.

Compiled by Rashidah Nakaayi