A court of appeal earlier this month ruled that the election of Kirunda Kivajinja as a member of the Ugandan parliament was invalid. The Kampala High Court last October nullified his election on the grounds it was tinted with malpractices like bribery, violence, and intimidation of voters and use of government resources the campaign.
Kivajinja, who is the third deputy prime minister and minister of information for Uganda, appealed and lost. So why is he still holding on to his post? Kivajinja said he disagreed with the court’s ruling.
“Of course, I differ with it in the sense that the people elected me. I got all the votes. Out of the 99 polling stations, my opponent complained about 12, and out of the 12, only nine he won. So they are not questioning whether I have the majority, but they are bringing other issues, saying that I had people who campaigned,” he said.
Kivajinja also rejects the court’s findings that his campaign used bribery, violence, and intimidation of voters.
“If at all there were any intimidation, the turnout would not have been more than 76 percent. So that one is completely out,” Kivajinja said.
Following the 2006 elections, the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, complained that the elections were rigged. But Kivajinja rejected the suggestion that the court ruling against him vindicated the opposition claims.
“I don’t think it could be put in the same basket. But even that, the irregularity that could be cited could not have overcome the overall wishes of the people. There cannot be intimidation when you have got more than 76 percent of turn out,” he said.
Kivajinja, who described himself as a freedom fighter who fought for judicial independence in Uganda, said he saw the recent judicial strike as a sign that the judicial process in Uganda was maturing.