The High Court in Soroti has set Friday 20 January as a day for delivering its ruling three election petitions filed against three Members of Parliament.
The MPs whose fate will be decided include; Soroti City East MP Hebert Edmund Ariko (NRM), Soroti City West MP Jonathan Ebwalu (Independent) and Toroma County MP Joseph Andrew Koluo (Independent)
The Soroti High Court Assistant Registrar in circular to the complainants and respondents date January 15, 2023 said that, “If no appearance is made by both the complainant and respondent, court may proceed and mention may be given in their absence.”
All the rulings will be delivered at Midday.
A section of voters are querying the legality of Aloet and Opiyai wards who participated in Soroti East Division by-election yet they had already voted for Soroti City West MP.
Michael Enyangu and 3 others, through their lawyers Kaganzi & Co advocates expressed their dissatisfaction over what they called “unconstitutional acts and omissions” of not deleting 5,233 voters from the aforementioned two parishes.
“Following the above mentioned decision of the Court of Appeal, the EC on June 6 issued a programme for the by-election of the directly elected Member of Parliament for Soroti East Division Constituency and the voters in the parishes of Opiyai and Aloet estimated to be approximately 1,337 voters of Opiyai parish and 3,896 of Aloet parish are now slated to participate in this by-election,” reads in part the petition.
“Allowing the same voters from Opiyai and Aloet parishes to participate in the election yet their votes are part of the results declared on January 15, 2021 for the directly elected Soroti West Division Constituency is unconstitutional and contravenes the laws of the country,” they further stated.
According to the complainants, voters of the two parishes would be voting twice if they are allowed to participate in the by-election.
Koluo’s 2021 victory is being challenged by Solomon Osiya who lost the race with 8,013 votes against 9,179 votes gathered by Koluo.
Osiya challenged the outcome on grounds that the election was not conducted in accordance with the principles and provisions of the electoral laws and allegedly affected the results in a substantial manner.
Ossiya had said that there were illegal practices and offences committed by Koluo, personally or with his knowledge, in connection to the election citing bribery, due influence and sectarianism, among others.
The petitioner (Osiya) sought an order for annulment and setting aside from the election and that he should be declared winner of the January election.
Moses Okia Attan of Forum for Democratic Change – FDC ran to Soroti high court to challenge the victory of Herbert Edmund Ariko.
Okia, through his lawyer Jude Byamukama of JB & co advocates, in an August 26 petition indicated that there were glaring malpractices, militarization of the by-election, and detention of his party agents.
Ms Christine Eyuu, the returning officer for Soroti City, who is also a respondent in the petition, on July 28, declared Mr Herbert Edmund Ariko of National Resistance Movement party as MP-elect for Soroti East Division having garnered 9,407 votes against Mr Attan’s 8,771. Mr Pascal Amuriat of Uganda People’s Congress came a distant third with 115 votes.