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Court of Appeal Orders Fresh Hearing of Dodoth East Election Petition

The Court of Appeal found that the lower Court Judge erred to hold that the affidavits of the Lokeris by Komakech were invalid because he had not renewed his practicing certificate for the year 2021.
Dodoth East County MP Emmanuel Komol whose victory is being challenged.
The Court of Appeal has ordered for fresh hearing of the Dodoth East election petition.

Samson Lokeris who contested on the NRM party ticket lost to Emmanuel Komol, an independent candidate with a margin of eleven votes. 

Lokeris, obtained 7,892 votes while Komol, an independent candidate 7,903 votes.

The decision was made on Friday by a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices comprised of Egonda Ntende, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, and Monica Mugenyi after quashing the decision by the High Court that dismissed Lokeris' petition with costs.

Lokeris petitioned the High Court seeking to set aside the election results on the grounds that there was non-compliance with the electoral laws and principles which affected the final results in a substantial manner.

He also noted that illegal practices were committed in connection with the elections by Komol either personally or with his knowledge and consent or approval. 

But the High Court Judge Anna Bitature Mugenyi dismissed the petition on grounds that the Commissioner of Oaths Geoffrey Komakech who commissioned the affidavits that accompanied his petition had no valid practicing license as required in law.

Mugenyi also told Lokeris to pay costs to Komol and the Electoral Commission.    

Lokeris raised three grounds of appeal arguing that the learned trial Judge had erred in rejecting his affidavits for having been commissioned by a commissioner of oaths who had not renewed his practicing certificate, which reportedly resulted in miscarriage of justice. 

Lokeris also faulted the trial Judge for having erred in law when she penalized him with costs given the circumstances of the case where he lost by a small margin.

In their decision delivered on Friday, the Court of Appeal says that the expiry of the practicing certificate granted to an advocate on the 31 December of the year of issuance does not mean that one has ceased being a Commissioner of Oaths. 

The Court of Appeal found that the lower Court Judge erred to hold that the affidavits of the Lokeris by Komakech were invalid because he had not renewed his practicing certificate for the year 2021.

The Justices said that this ground would ordinarily dispose of the entire appeal but for the purposes of completeness, they had to go through the other two grounds. They have however found that the lower court couldn't be faulted for not allowing Lokeris to rectify the alleged defects in the commissioning of his principal affidavit. 

The Court of Appeal ordered that the matter should be sent back to the High Court for a fresh hearing on its merits before another Judge. 

The justices said that it is important for the High Court to always dispose of the case to its logical conclusion even after resolving the preliminary points of law. Justice Kibeedi who wrote the lead Judgement argued that the history of the country on Parliamentary disputes is that most of the election matters end up in the Court of Appeal and that’s when the litigants give up.

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