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Court Dismisses Toroma County Petition with Costs

Ossiya attempted to unseat Koluo through the just-concluded parliamentary election. However, he lost the race with 8,013 votes against 9,179 votes by the victor and 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.
MP Joseph Andrew Koluo being carried by his supporters after court ruling.

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The High Court in Soroti has dismissed an election petition filed by Solomon Ossiya Alemu against the Toroma County MP, Joseph Andrew Koluo.

Ossiya attempted to unseat Koluo through the just-concluded parliamentary election. However, he lost the race with 8,013 votes against 9,179 votes by the victor and 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 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. On the basis of this, the petitioner sought an order for annulment and setting aside from the election and that he should be declared winner of the January election.

But in the commencement of the court hearing, lawyers from both sides raised preliminary objections regarding affidavits and the validity of the petition. They agreed to address three issues in the petition that include whether 56 out of 60 affidavits of the petitioner offend the provisions of the Illiterate Protection Act, whether 20 affidavits in support of the petition ought to be expunged on account of variations on witness signatures and attached photocopies of their National Identity Cards and whether the petition was validly filed.

Presiding Judge Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga found that the Commissioner of Oaths for the affidavits, Raymond Owakukiroru had no valid practising license by the time commissioning the affidavits. She said that affidavits were filed in contravention of the law.

Justice Okuo said that Owakukiroru commissioned the affidavits on March 10, 2021, ten days past the expiry of the grace period given to the advocates to renew their licenses. She said that the Commissioner of Oaths violated the Commissioner of Oaths Advocates Act.

“I, therefore, find in summary that the petition was incompetent, it was filed in contravention of the law specifically section 60 of the Parliamentary Election Act and Rules 3C,4,8 of the Parliamentary Elections Interim Provisions Rules and hereby proceed to strike it out”, Justice Okuo said in her ruling. The judge awarded the costs to the respondent.

//Cue in;  “In the circumstances…

Cue out…respondents.”//

Ossiya, who was in court declined to speak to our reporter on his next course of action but Koluo said he was elated by the ruling. Toroma County is the fourth out of nine election petitions to be disposed of in Soroti.