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Court Dismisses Petition Against Eastern Youth MP Benard Odoi

Justice Kakooza threw out the petition at Mbale high court on Wednesday morning on grounds that it lacks merit. Balunywa ran to court to nullify Odoi’s victory on grounds that he was ineligible to run for the youth parliamentary seat.
Balunywa Speaks to journalists

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Justice Cornelia Sabiti Kakooza has dismissed a petition filed by Sumaya Aliza Balunywa, a former contestant for the Eastern Region Youth parliamentary seat against her National Resistance Movement-NRM rival, Benard Oneni Odoi.  

Justice Kakooza threw out the petition at Mbale high court on Wednesday morning on grounds that it lacks merit. Balunywa ran to court to nullify Odoi’s victory on grounds that he was ineligible to run for the youth parliamentary seat.  

Through her lawyer of Acadia Advocates, Balunywa claimed that Odoi was 39 years of age during nominations and not 30 years as he claimed, which made him ineligible. She argued that the Eastern Youth MP election failed short of complying with the provisions of the parliamentary elections Act, 2005 and section 8D of the parliamentary elections Act (17 of 2015) and regulation 2 of the parliamentary special elections (Special interest groups) Amendment regulations No.6 of 2011 because Odoi, who is the first respondent to the suit was not eligible to run as a Youth MP.   

In her ruling, Justice Cornelia Sabiti Kakooza, said that the application didn’t hold merit. She also noted that the applicant didn’t serve the respondent to enable him to respond to the suit. However, Balunywa’s lawyer, Robert Balut from Acadia Advocates, says that they are dissatisfied with the ruling, saying they duly served Odoi and his lawyers of Anguria and Company Advocates electronically. 

He said that they intend to appeal the ruling by next week.        

   

//Cue in: “We are aggrieved…     

Cue out:…in the original order,”//    

The Electoral Commission lawyer, Patrick Wetaka told journalists that the petitioner failed to serve the respondents, who applied for dismissal. The National Resistance Movement and National Identification Registration Authority, who were second and third respondents respectively also asked for dismissal.      

//Cue in: “The petitioner failed…      

Cue out:…and disposed of”//       

 

However, Balunywa insists that they served the first respondent through his lawyers.    

//Cue in: “Because court has…  

   

Cue out:…must be achieved,”//      

Before the 2021 elections, the Electoral Commission cancelled Odoi’s nomination that he was ineligible to run for the youth parliamentary race because he was above 30 years of age. However, Odoi successfully challenged the decision in the High Court Civil Divisions in Kampala, which reinstated him a day to the race. 

In his defence, Odoi argued that before his nomination, he submitted his National Identity card to the Electoral Commission indicating that he was born on August 28th, 1991 as evidence to prove that he was a youth and upon satisfaction, the EC duly nominated him.   

In his judgment, Justice Emmanuel Baguma, said that Odoi was validly nominated by the Electoral Commission to contest for the Eastern Region Youth parliamentary seat.          

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