Abdul Nasser Mukasa, a candidate in the 2021 Makindye East LC5 Council race, has lost his appeal in the High Court. He was attempting to challenge the 8,778,000 million shillings bill of costs filed against him by his rival, Muhammad Wasswa Mwanje, who ultimately won the election.
The High Court in Kampala, presided over by Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana, made the decision. The dispute arose in 2021 when Mukasa, representing the National Resistance Movement, contested the election but lost to Mwanje of the National Unity Platform. Mukasa alleged that the election was marred by malpractice sponsored by Mwanje, leading him to challenge the results.
However, on July 5th, 2022, Makindye Grade One Magistrate John Pauls Osauro upheld Mwanje’s victory and ordered Mukasa to pay him 8.7 million shillings for legal expenses.
Dissatisfied with this ruling, Mukasa appealed to the High Court, arguing that the Taxing Master had made legal errors. He claimed that the Taxing Master incorrectly treated his case as a substantive Election Petition, leading to a miscarriage of justice. Additionally, Mukasa argued that some costs were excessive and had been allowed without the required dates of service.
In his verdict, Justice Ssekaana stated that Mukasa did not provide specific details of which items were excessively taxed, as required by regulation. He also noted that some expenses were agreed upon by Mukasa during the taxation hearing, making them ineligible for appeal.
Justice Ssekaana emphasized that taxation aims to ensure fair and reasonable remuneration for work done, not to address parties’ dissatisfaction with costs. Consequently, he dismissed Mukasa’s appeal and ordered him to pay additional costs related to the appeal.
Before concluding the case, Justice Ssekaana cautioned lawyers against providing incorrect advice and misleading their clients. He criticized Mukasa’s legal representation for filing an election case out of time, labeling it as professional negligence. Ssekaana noted that such errors in procedure should not be attributed to the clients but rather to their lawyers.