Members of Parliament have written to the Auditor General demanding for a performance audit of the Court of Appeal in respect to election petitions.
The two legislators are Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga and Kabweri County MP Francis Gonahasa. The duo particularly pointed to the delayed disposal of election petitions before the Court of Appeal. They state that the delay contradicts the Parliamentary Elections Act which provides that election petition appeals shall be heard and disposed off within 6 months from the date they are filed.
The MPs allege that a number of election petitions remain pending in the court headed by Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma. "Election Petitions are a special category of cases which must be disposed off expeditiously because they relate to a term of office which is five years," the petition states.
Karuhanga says that the administration of justice as far as the election petitions are concerned is mismanaged right from allocation to case management. He alleges that some judges were excluded from entertaining election appeals while some law firms had their cases heard by particular panels, an act which goes against principles of natural justice.
"The purpose is to request you for a performance audit in respect of election petition appeals which were filed regarding the 2016 general election," he adds in the petition as which was received by the Auditor General's office on August 7th 2017.
He accused the Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma of poorly administering the Court saying that for more than six months, some election cases have not been disposed off. He also points to cases that have remained in court since 2011 citing a case filed by Richard William Kanyike against Ssebuliba Mutumba the former Kawempe South legislator.
Kabweri County MP Francis Gonahasa says that the backlog in the Court of Appeal emanates from the mismanagement of court. He adds that some judges were not even given any cases to handle.
Three months after the conclusion of the general election, the Judiciary cause-listed 118 parliamentary petitions which were to be heard in 13 different High Court circuits across the country. The petitions were allocated to 26 High Court judges with the view of disposing them off in a period of three months.
In January this year, media reports indicated that 30 MPs had pending election petitions in the Court of Appeal.