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Court Rejects Affidavits by Matheniko County Election Officials

Eight of the affidavits to support his petition were sworn by the Presiding Officers, Polling Assistants, biometric Voter Verification Officers and others in Acerer, Naregae, Arengkeju and Lopur Polling Stations among others.
Paul Oloo (on suit) with his supporters at Soroti Court premises.

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The High Court in Soroti has struck off its record, 10 affidavits sworn by the election officials in Moroto district in support of a petition filed by Paul Oloo, against Matheniko County MP John Baptist Lokii.

Oloo, then an incumbent legislator, lost the Matheniko County Parliamentary Seat to Lokii with 6,606 votes against 6,794 votes.  However, he challenged the victory in the court accusing the electoral commission of conniving with his opponent to snatch his victory.

But eight of the affidavits to support his petition were sworn by the Presiding Officers, Polling Assistants, Biometric Voter Verification Officers and others in Acerer, Naregae, Arengkeju and Lopur Polling Stations among others.  The officers reportedly divulged information from their respective polling stations without authorization from their employer, the Electoral Commission.

The affidavits would be used against the victor of the January Polls and the Electoral Commission, the institution they worked for. But Presiding Judge Jane Okuo Kajuga said that the affidavits from the Electoral Commission officials were an illegality that cannot be used in addressing the matter in contention. She said that by swearing in the affidavits as election officials against the Electoral Commission, the officials violated the  Parliamentary Election Act and the Electoral Commission Act.

The judge also rejected the affidavits by the Moroto District Returning Officer Rose Lilly Loumo Lokut for containing different signatures and spellings of her name from the ones she tendered in her official documents. In addition, the court also rejected 14 other affidavits filed by the witnesses of the petitioner on grounds that they didn’t meet the legal requirement since they were not confirmed by the Commissioner of Oaths.

Justice Kajuga was delivering her ruling on preliminary objections on affidavits from both the petitioner and the defendants. But Kenneth Engoru, the lawyer representing the petitioner says that the court ruling limits the presence of the Electoral Commission in the defence of the case. He says that they have 14 more affidavits to support the petition.

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But Fred Kato, the lawyer representing Dr Lokii says the ruling by Justice Kajuga gives them an upper hand in challenging the petition.  “We believe we have a good case. With 22 out of 31 affidavits struck out, the burden of the petitioner only increases. We see ourselves winning this case”, he said.

Justice Kajuga set Monday, September 6, to commence hearing of the submissions from both parties.