Court Nullifies Serere County Parliamentary Results

2129 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
Bishop Okabe, the National Resistance Movement NRM party candidate, won the seat with 23,949 votes beating the incumbent legislator Ochola Stephen who polled 18,091 votes. Others candidates included Odongo Francis who secured 948 votes and Opolot Daniel with 464.

High Court in Soroti has nullified the election of Bishop Patrick Okabe, as the Member of Parliament for Serere County, over violation of electoral laws and lack of academic qualifications.

Bishop Okabe, the National Resistance Movement - NRM party candidate, won the seat with 23,949 votes beating the incumbent legislator Ochola Stephen who polled 18,091 votes. Others candidates included Odongo Francis who secured 948 votes and Opolot Daniel with 464.

The other contender Joseph Linos Opio, a member of the Uganda People's Congress-UPC party had his particulars omitted from the ballot paper and as such recorded 0 votes.

The omission formed the basis of his court challenge against the Electoral Commission. He also accused the winner of the February 18 parliamentary poll, Bishop Patrick Okabe for lack of academic qualifications, among others.

In a ruling read by Registrar Tumwebaze Ayebare on behalf of Justice Billy Kainamura, court nullified the results on grounds that the petitioner and his supporters were denied a right to vote for the candidate of their choice when his name did not appear on the ballot paper, despite being dully nominated by the Electoral Commission.

The judge accused the Electoral Commission of grossly violating electoral laws by omitting names and symbols of a candidate who was dully nominated as sustaining the erroneous poll.
 
//cue in; The Petitioner has...
Cue out …..the third respondent."//
 
Court also cited inconsistencies in Bishop Patrick Okabe's academic papers which had different names recorded as Patrick Okabe on some and as Ochen Oliba Patrick on others. The judge ruled that the victor did therefore not qualify to be nominated and elected as a Member of Parliament because the papers he presented represent two individuals.

However, Okabe's lead lawyer Moses Kimuli said that he was not satisfied with the ruling promised to appeal the ruling.
 
//Cue in; clearly the decision….
Cue out……..papers that follow."//
 
Meanwhile Opio's supporters expressed delight with the outcome saying that the judgment will give them opportunity to elect an ideal representative for the post.