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MP Reagan Okumu decries delayed 2016 supreme court ruling

The Aswa County Member of Parliament Ronald Reagan Okumu addressing FDC delegates in Amuru – Photo by Dominic

Gulu, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Reagan Okumu, the Aswa County MP has raised concerns about delays by the Court of Appeal to rule on an election petition he filed five years ago.

Before the 2016 elections, Okumu petitioned the Court of Appeal after his December 2015 nomination as Forum for Democratic Change – FDC flag bearer for Aswa County Constituency by the Electoral Commission – EC was halted by Gulu High Court.

It followed allegations filed before the court by Christopher Acire who challenged Okumu’s nominations on grounds that he was wrongly handed the FDC flag without undergoing the requisite party primary election. 

The Court ruled against Okumu and the EC subsequently stripped him of the FDC symbol while Acire was declared the party’s flag bearer with the symbol of the key. Okumu filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal which granted an interim order of stay of the orders in Gulu High Court. 

Okumu, who is now seeking sixth term re-election as Aswa County MP under the FDC ticket, says the pending ruling by the Court of Appeal is still bothering him whether he was legitimately elected or not. 

Okumu, says that early this year, he petitioned the Court of Appeal to have the case disposed of before he could commence his re-election bid but nothing has been forthcoming.

According to him, the justice system of the country is extremely frustrating due to unnecessary bureaucracies but emphasized that he will still seek a final ruling of the Court of Appeal for the record. 

Solomon Muyita, the Judiciary Spokesperson couldn’t readily confirm the status of the case before the Court of Appeal. However, he asked for more time to consult the court’s registry for an appropriate response. 

Whereas Okumu polled 16,859 votes as opposed to Acire’s 5,316 votes during the elections, Acire further challenged the victory in Gulu High Court citing non-compliance with the electoral laws but the matter was dismissed with cost. To date, the cost has never been estimated by the court. 

Justice David Matovu who presided over the petition ruled that there was no evidence of no-compliance with the electoral laws in the conduct of the elections and reaffirmed that Okumu was validly elected.

In October this year, the FDC party leadership resolved tensions between Okumu and Acire through dialogue. As a means of good gesture, Acire opted to contest as maiden mayor of Gulu City leaving Okumu to maintain his dominance of Aswa County Constituency.



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