Dokolo East MP Wants Rival's Victory Overturned

"The mandatory vote recount would have led to a proper scrutiny of the votes in light of the difference of 11 Votes," reads the application.
A sealed ballot box used to carry ballot papers.By Hafitha Issa
The incumbent Dokolo East County Member of Parliament, Samson Lokeris has petitioned Soroti High Court seeking to overturn the election of his rival, Emmanuel Komol in the just concluded elections. Through Alaka and Company Advocates, Lokeris wants High court to declare that Komol wasn’t validly elected Member of Parliament and set aside his victory to pave way for fresh polls. 

He also contends that the January 14th, 2021 polls compromised the principles of free and fair elections as stipulated in the Constitution, the Electoral Commission Act and Parliamentary Elections Act.  He also states that while at the tally center in Kaabong Town Council Court Hall on January 15th, 2021 he asked the Electoral Commission Retuning Officer, who is the second respondent to the suit for a vote recount in vain. 

According to Lokeris, he sought a vote recount because the tallying was unclear and that when he asked for the signed result declaration forms he was told that the system has broken down and therefore couldn’t access the copies. Lokeris says that the officer received his request in writing and stamped it and told him that he would consult with their legal team at the Electoral Commission.

According to Lokeris, the returning officer out rightly rejected his request to delay the announcement and hold a vote recount. He says that returning officer declared Komol as the winner with 7,903 votes while he came second with 7,892 votes.  "The mandatory vote recount would have led to a proper scrutiny of the votes in light of the difference of 11 Votes," reads the application.

He also claims that the retuning officer closed voting at some polling stations earlier than the official closing time of 4pm. He cites Karongo Rock Tree shade polling stations were he says voting was closed at 2pm, Lopetun Evil Tree shade 2:40pm, Police Primary School 3:30pm, Sakatan Tree Shade 3:30pm and Morunyang Tree Shade polling station 3:45pm.

This, Lokeris says disenfranchised his voters who came before closure of the voting process. He further states that the Retuning Officer closed some polling stations way after the closing hour of 4:00pm. He cites 14 polling stations including Komuria market where he says voting ended at 7:7pm, Loiki Primary School at 7pm, Lodiko Primary School at 7:04pm and Central South Mosque compound mosque polling station at 6:30pm among others.

In his application, Lokeris also says that the returning officer chased away aides to older people and Persons with Disabilities, something that affected their ability to use the right voting mark and correctly. He says several illiterate and older people cast invalid votes. 

"Adjustments of results taking into consideration the number of invalid votes, the early closure of the voting process, and the prolonged extension of the voting process affect the results in a substantial manner both quantitatively and qualitatively" reads the petition in part.

There were four candidates in the race including Charles Adir of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC who got 149 votes and Independent candidate, Mark Sagal Abuku Lowany who garnered 127 votes.  

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