Justice Luswata to hear Musumba’s application on substituted service

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Justice Eva Luswata, the Jinja High Court resident judge will hear Salamu Musumba’s application of substituted service against the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

Musumba applied for substituted service on claims that Kadaga or her agents had declined to receive the petition in which she is accused of involvement in vote-rigging and voter bribery during the recently concluded parliamentary elections.

Substituted service in legal terms means that an applicant can serve an accused person by leaving the documents with a designated agent, adult in the recipient’s home or place of work.

In her application, Musumba states that she attempted to serve the petition to Kadaga at her known public office located at the Parliament of Uganda but was busy, prompting her to apply for substituted service.

According to Musumba, unlike other applications where substituted service can be done by court officials, election petitions are served by the petitioners themselves directly to the respondents or their appointed agents claiming that it was a sign of prejudice for the respondents to receive the petition from the court registry without her consent.

Last week, the deputy registrar, Fred Waninda presided over the hearings of the application and set 21 April as the date to deliver his ruling on the same, however, Musumba wrote a letter to the principal judge protesting how the case was being handled at court and demanded a judge to intervene.

While presiding over the hearing of Musumba’s application on Wednesday evening, Luswata stated that the application was a simple matter and they had resorted to allocate the same to Waninda but, since the applicant was dissatisfied with the methods of operation, the principal judge assigned her.

Luswata further set Thursday as the day on which she will deliver her ruling on the same. 

However, Kadaga’s lawyer, John Mary Mugisha stated that, since the respondent had already received the petition, filed affidavits in reply and served the applicant’s lawyers too, the application was since overtaken by events and asked the court to dismiss it with costs. 

John Isabirye, Musumba’s lawyer has since refuted claims of receiving the respondent’s reply claiming that, the respondent and her lawyers intentionally declined to be served with the petition.

On her part, Musumba says that election petitions and their related applications are matters of public interest which should be handled within the stipulated legal frameworks, but with what she terms as the rush in which her application was being handled by the registrar, she was prompted to write a letter expressing dissatisfaction to the principal judge who in turn addressed her concerns.

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