Supreme Court to rule on PLWDs poll dispute today

The Supreme Court will today decide whether or not Gaston Rusiha legitimately won the parliamentary seat reserved for people with disabilities (PLWDs) last week.
Rusiha at the Supreme Court yesterday. The New Times/Timothy Kisambira
Rusiha at the Supreme Court yesterday. The New Times/Timothy Kisambira

The Supreme Court will today decide whether or not Gaston Rusiha legitimately won the parliamentary seat reserved for people with disabilities (PLWDs) last week.

On Friday, Severin Gisaza Rwamucyo, Rusiha’s closest challenger, petitioned court claiming that the defendant had bribed his way to victory.

He also accused Rusiha of influence-peddling.

Rusiha is currently the president of the Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPDs), and Rwamucyo charges that the former abused his position in bid to win over voters in the September 18 poll.

Rusiha and Rwamucyo were among 15 contestants who were in the running for the Lower House seat and were voted for by members of an Electoral College representing people with disabilities.

The Electoral College was composed of 241 voters, with Rusiha collecting 100 votes (41.84 per cent) and Rwamucyo 63 votes (26.36 per cent).

On Wednesday, last week, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), in its preliminary results, declared Rusiha as winner of the contest but did not include his name in the list of the MPs-elect unveiled during the announcement of the final results on Friday.

Yesterday, Chief Justice Sam Rugege read out Rwamucyo’s written submission in which he accused Rusiha of entrusting Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the NCPDs executive secretary, of bribing the voters with view to sway them in his boss’ favour.

In his submission, Rwamucyo also charged that Rusiha had sent a letter to representatives of the council at the provincial level directing them to vote for him.

He also alleged that Rusiha sent money to voters using various channels, including mobile money and Tigo cash platforms.

Rusiha rejected all the allegations in his own written submission, also read out by CJ Rugege.

Neither Rwamucyo nor Rusiha were allowed to speak in court yesterday in keeping with the rules concerning such petitions.

The plaintiff did not challenge the conduct of the elections, according to state attorney Epimaque Rwango.

Court will deliver its verdict today at 4p.m and its decision will be final.

 

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