Salaamu Musumba Trounces NRM's Rehema Watongola in Court Top story

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In short
Musumba argued that by the time the National Council for Higher Education purported to equate the said awards to A-level, they knew or ought to have known that the said awards could not have been equivalent to A-Level because the awards had been given to Watongola by Busoga University, which was not accredited by then to award such qualifications.

Jinja High court has nullified the victory of Hajjati Rehema Watongola as Kamuli Municipality Member of Parliament on grounds of lack of the requisite academic qualifications.

Justice Godfrey Namundi delivered the judgment this morning following a petition filed by Proscovia Salaamu Musumba, the former Forum for Democratic Change-FDC candidate for Kamuli municipality parliamentary seat.

Musumba contested in the February 18th general elections and lost to Watongola, who contested on the National Resistance Movement party ticket.

As a result, Musumba petitioned court through her lawyers of M/S Isabirye and company advocates accusing Electoral Commission, Busoga University and the National Council for Higher Education as first, second and third respondents respectively of conspiring with Watongola to commit an electoral offence by uttering and using false documents to contest.

She asked court to nullify the victory of Watongola and declare her winner, since she was the first runner up in the polls or order fresh elections. Musumba also asked court to prosecute her rival for committing an electoral offence. In her petition, Musumba argued that Watongola didn't possess the requisite academic qualifications at the time of her nomination since she used papers that had been revoked.

Watongola presented a Uganda certificate of education, certificate, diploma and degree in Public administration and management from Busoga University for her nomination, which was certified by Busoga University, the third respondent to the suit.

But Musumba contended that Busoga University had in its 30th senate university meeting convened on 17th December 2010 revoked all awards given to Watongola on the grounds that the certificate upon which she was admitted to Busoga University was investigated and found to be false or forged.

"Accordingly Busoga University in the communication dated 20th December 2010 under Ref BU/DVC/01/12/10 recalled and ordered Hajjati Watongola to return the said academic awards" the petition reads in parts.

The petition adds that Watongola had in 2010 sought a certificate of equivalence from the National Council for Higher Education in respect to the Diploma in Public administration and Management of July 2008, certificate in public administration and management, Busoga University attained in July 2005, which was issued.

Musumba argued that by the time the National Council for Higher Education purported to equate the said awards to A-level, they knew or ought to have known that the said awards could not have been equivalent to A-Level because the awards had been given to Watongola by Busoga University, which was not accredited by then to award such qualifications.

In its submission, Busoga University denied having awarded or certified any certificate belonging to Watongola, adding that they had also revoked and cancelled all the subsequent diploma and degree in public administration and management awarded to her on grounds of forgery. It is upon this background that Justice Godfrey Namundi nullified the polls and ordered fresh polls. 

He also awarded the petitioner the costs of the suit. Speaking to journalists shortly after the court ruling, Watongola said she has already instructed her lawyers from Akandaho Frank and advocates to appeal the ruling, saying her papers are legitimate and were duly certified by the academic bodies. Kamuli Municipality parliamentary race attracted four candidates. 

Watongola emerged winner with 8175 votes followed by Proscovia Salaamu Musumba with 6702 votes; David Kammali Sibira came third with 1704 trailed by Prossy Naikoba Kanakutanda with 495 votes.