The National Unity Platform-NUP party leader Robert Kyagulanyi has asked the High Court to reject additional evidence by the former leaders of National Unity Reconciliation and Development party -NURP, Moses Kibalama and Paul Simbwa. The case stems from a suit filed by two founding members of the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party –NURP, the entity which was transmuted into National Unity Platform. The members, Difas Basile and Hassan Twala accuse their leaders Moses Nkonge Kibalama of fraudulently making changes to the party constitution and effecting its takeover without following due processes. The changes include changing the party name from NURP to NUP, changing leadership from Moses Nkonge Kibalama to Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi and other said leaders, change of party colours, logos, as well as the alteration of founder members and subscribers. The duo argues that the founding members of the party were never consulted and did not pass the requisite resolution to change the party name in as far as the NURP constitution of 2004 is concerned.
At the beginning of hearing the case before Justice Musa Ssekaana, Kibalama and Simbwa first swore affidavits jointly drafted from two law firms Lukwago and Wameli company advocates acknowledging that Kyagulanyi and his group took over the party leadership in line with their party constitution. After the submission of the affidavits, Justice Ssekaana summoned them to appear in court for cross-examination based on another affidavit they had sworn before Barungi and Baingana Company Advocates in Fort Portal. In these new affidavits, there were several inconsistencies yet they had been sworn in on the same day with the old affidavits which prompted the court to summon them for cross-examination and clarity. In the submissions dated October 8, 2020, to the judge, Kyagulanyi wants the additional evidence by Kibalama and Simbwa struck out from the court record and go ahead and determine the case in their favour. Kyagulanyi alleges that Kibalama and Simbwa were under duress to swear the additional affidavits because they were under state control in Mbale at that time and as such, they did not have their freedom. The group notes that Kibalama at one point cried in court seeking to be protected to gain his freedom and in the same affidavits, he told several lies due to what they say were under duress. “My Lord, Kibalama was also unaware of who his lawyer or his name and kept referring to him as Byamukama. This was in contrast with his full knowledge of his first lawyers including Wameli Anthony of Wameli and company advocates”, reads part of the submissions to Justice Ssekaana.
Kyagulanyi also states that when Kibalama was being cross-examined, his only issue was that he had been sidelined and not given any duties when they assumed power at the helm of NUP. They also fault Simbwa for having said that he had read through his first affidavit, believed its contents to be true and signed it. Kyagulanyi also argues that when Simbwa was being cross-examined, he admitted that he never met the said lawyers and had never been to Fort Portal but later stated that he had met two of their lawyers George Byamukama and a one Prosper at NIC building in Kampala who advised him to retract his earlier affidavit.
According to Kyagulanyi and his group, all these are inconsistencies which should be removed from the court record. The group also contends that the application against them should be dismissed entirely as it was not brought under a judicial review procedure which limits people with complaints against a particular decision to apply to the court within three months. The applicants reportedly waited for years before petitioning the court.
The judgement is expected on October 16, 2020.