Justice Mugenyi thus ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections before condemning them together with Attan to pay costs of the case filed by the former MP Herbert Edmund Ariko Okworo. Ariko sought to overturn Attan's victory on grounds that there was malpractice and disenfranchisation of voters.
Moses Okia Attan talking to Journalists after court ruling.
The Electoral Commission has filed an election appeal challenging
the decision to throw Forum for Democratic Change MP Moses Okia Attan out of
Parliament as the Soroti City East legislator.
On August 31st 2021, Soroti High Court Judge Anne Mugenyi
nullified the January 14th 2021 victory of Attan saying that his election was
conducted in nonexistent wards of Aloet and Opiyai.
The Lady Justice's decision was based on a High Court
judgement issued on March 10th 2021 that saw Justice Wilson Masalu Musene revert
Opiyai and Aloet to Soroti City East Division.
The two wards had
previously been annexed to Soroti City West Division by the same judge in
November 2020. But Justice Musene said that he had not been served with
documents for the creation of Soroti City from Parliament and declaration of
the cabinet on the same, hence his decision.
As such, Mugenyi relied on the same decision noting that
there was gross non-compliance with the electoral laws which affected the
results in a substantial manner because there was disenfranchisation of 5,233
voters from both Aloet and Opiyai.
Justice Mugenyi thus ordered the Electoral Commission to
conduct fresh elections before condemning them together with Attan to pay costs
of the case filed by the former MP Herbert Edmund Ariko Okworo. Ariko sought to overturn Attan's victory on
grounds that there was malpractice and disenfranchisation of voters.
However, not happy with Mugenyi's decision, Attan through
his lawyers of Galisonga and Company Advocates and Alliance Advocates appealed on September 7th 2021 and now the Electoral
Commission has also put in an appeal to defend his victory.
In its appeal, the Electoral Commission just like Attan also
raises six grounds of appeal which are almost related to his.
The Electoral Commission contends that the learned trial
Judge erred in law and fact when she held that the reconstitution of the
boundaries of Soroti City West Constituency by removing the two parishes of
Aloet and Opiyai from Soroti City East Constituency and placing them in Soroti
City West Constituency was done illegally by the Commission.
"That the learned trial Judge erred in law and fact
when she found that 5,233 registered voters in the two parishes of Aloet and
Opiyai were disenfranchised from the right to vote their leaders", reads
the appeal in part.
The Electoral Commission also faults Justice Mugenyi for
having relied on the court orders issued by Justice Musene on November 26th
2020 and March 15th 2021 and applied them retrospectively before declaring the
election conducted by the commission a nullity and a sham.
"The learned trial Judge erred in law and fact when she
found that there was noncompliance with the electoral laws by the Appellant/EC
in Soroti City East Constituency and that the result of the election was
affected in a substantial manner", reads the appeal.
Adding that " the learned trial Judge erred in law and fact,
when she unfairly and erroneously condemned the Appellant in costs on account
of allegedly illegally conducting the elections in Soroti City East
Constituency despite existence of a binding court order.
The Electoral Commission through its external lawyers of
Magna and Company Advocates now wants the Court of Appeal to quash the orders
of Soroti High Court Judge and substitute the same with an order dismissing
The elections body also wants court to order Ariko to pay
costs of the appeal and in the lower Court. The records show that the former FDC MP Ariko who stood on
an Independent Ticket for the 2021 polls but has since joined the ruling
National Resistance Movement garnered 7,167 votes against FDC, s Attan's 7,606 votes,
thereby being defeated with a margin of 439 votes which compelled him to
petition the lower Court.
This appeal is among the 12 so far filed in the Court of
Appeal arising from the 2021 elections.