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Court annuls Soroti East polls, orders fresh elections

Moses Okia Attan (R) had been declared winner of the 2021 general election. URN/File Photo

Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Soroti has nullified the election of Moses Okia Attan as the Soroti City East Member of Parliament.

In her ruling delivered this morning, Justice Anne Mugenyi Bitature said the election of Attan was conducted in non-existent wards of Aloet and Opiyai.

Her decision was based on the March 10, 2021 High Court ruling where Justice Wilson Masalu Musene reverted Opiyai and Aloet to Soroti City East Division. The two wards had been annexed to Soroti City West Division by the same judge in November 2020.

But Justice Musene said that he had not been served with documents for the creation of Soroti City from Parliament and declaration of the cabinet on the same.

Now, Justice Mugenyi says that there was gross noncompliance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Elections Act, the Electoral Commission Act, the Local Government Act and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, which substantially affected the poll results. She observed that 5,233 voters from both Aloet and Opiyai were denied the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Justice Mugenyi ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections and awarded the costs to the petitioner, payable by both Attan and the Electoral Commission.

Okia, who was in court told journalists that he will consult with his lawyers on his next course of action.

Herbert Edmund Ariko, the immediate former Member of Parliament for Soroti Municipality, dragged FDC’s Attan Okia and the Electoral Commission to court over what he called election malpractices. Ariko lost to Attan in his bid to represent Soroti City East in parliament in the January 2021 elections.

In a related development, the same court upheld the election of Emmanuel Komol as Dodoth East Member of Parliament in Kaabong district. The former Dodoth East MP, Samson Lokeris sought to overturn the election of Komol citing noncompliance with the electoral laws.

But the petition was thrown out on grounds that the Commissioner of Oaths, Geoffrey Komakech, who commissioned the affidavits filed by the petitioner had no valid practicing license as required in the law.

Komol commended the decision of the court. Lokeris was not in court for the ruling on preliminary objections raised by the defendants.

The two judges handling election petitions in Soroti have so far disposed off three out of nine cases.



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