Gulu Court Halts Vote Recount Citing Massive Irregularities

The Gulu chief magistrate court has stopped the vote recount for Omoro County parliamentary elections citing massive irregularities. Joseph Omodo Nyanga, the chief magistrate stopped the vote recount abut six hours into the exercise. He said there were too many irregularities that would render the recount insignificant. Nyanga said some boxes were empty with no ballot papers while others contained mixed ballot papers from different polling stations and yet others had signs indicating they were tampered with. The magistrate also question why some of the ballot were kept in transparent boxes while the rules require that all polling materials must be stored in the black metallic boxes. Nyanga advised the aggrieved parties to appeal to the high court. The exercise today followed a ruling by the same court yesterday allowing for the vote recount. This was after Simon Tolit, the incumbent MP of Omoro County and FDC candidate petitioned the court saying that he suspected Jacob Oulanya, the NRM party candidate of rigging the polls held on February 23. The electoral commission results indicated Oulanya had won the elections by 11,044 while Tolit emerged second at 9,088 votes. Tolit said he was excited by the court decision saying that it showed his concerns about electoral malpractice were genuine. He said he was going to challenge the poll results before the high court. Meanwhile, Oulanya has also welcomed the ruling but said he is aggrieved by the sopping of the recount. He said the recount should have continued because it showed he was gaining more votes. Several policemen were deployed at the court premises while the public was kept at bay as the gate to the court remained under lock for the entire process that lasted until shortly after 3pm. The Omoro County vote recount is one of the many that the electoral commission is facing following the just help general elections.