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Lawyers Reject 26 Affidavits in Ngora County Petition

Achayo, a candidate for the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party was declared winner of the January polls by the Electoral Commission in Kampala, with 9,517 against 9,226 votes polled by her rival David Abala, yet earlier Ngora District Returning Officer Peter Toddu had announced Abala as the winner with 8,317 against 7,828.
MP Juliet Achayo Lodou waves to her supporters as she emerges from court in Soroti.

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Lawyers representing Ngora County MP Juliet Achayo Lodou have objected to the 26 affidavits challenging her victory from the January 2021 parliamentary election.

Achayo, a candidate for the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party was declared winner of the January polls by the Electoral Commission in Kampala, with 9,517 against 9,226 votes polled by her rival David Abala, yet earlier Ngora District Returning Officer Peter Toddu had announced Abala as the winner with  8,317 against 7,828.

According to the Electoral Commission, the first declaration was based on results from 54 polling stations, while the final tally and declaration came from all the 65 polling stations in Ngora. But, Abala challenged the decision in  court on the condition that the elections were highly monetized and characterized by intimidation, violence and voter bribery among other alleged election malpractices. 

But Achayo’s lawyers are asking the court to reject the 26 affidavits presented by the petitioners on the ground that the authors' presented varying signatures and that they lacked a certificate of translation. Some of the affidavits contested by Achayo’s lawyers include those filed by John Charles Odeke, the Presiding Officer who filed an affidavit against the Electoral Commission, Anthony Okanyum, an advocate who indicated that he was an illiterate and Geoffrey Milton Okunya, a teacher who also indicated that he was illiterate.

Alfred Okello Oryem, one of the lawyers representing Achayo says that the affidavits were poorly prepared to be admitted to court adding that while the witnesses claimed to be illiterate, some were discovered to be literate.

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But Phillip Engulu, the lawyer representing Abala says the signature variances are only found in the annexures which have been denied by the witnesses. He also urged that the witnesses had a right to ask for translations even when some of them were educated.

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Both Abala and Achayo are holding declaration forms where they were declared winner, although Achayo was subsequently sworn in as Ngora County MP. Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga, the Presiding Judge set Tuesday 14, September to deliver her ruling on the preliminary objections raised.