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Court Defers Judgement on Pallisa Woman MP Dispute

The Electoral Commissioner Lawyer, Hamid Lugoloobi arrived after Justice Sekana had adjourned court. Achola ran to court on June 19th 2018 after Electoral Commission nullified her nomination, saying the names on her nomination papers dont correspond to those on her academic papers.
FDC's Catherine Achola Osupelem
The Civil Division of High Court will deliver judgment on a petition challenging the disqualification of Catherine Achola, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party candidate from the Pallisa Woman MP elections.  The judgment was expected this morning, but Justice Musa Sekana who presided over the matter, said the judgment wasn't ready.

 

He informed Achola and her lawyer, Wilfred Nuwagaba that he is writing his judgment and adjourned court to Friday afternoon. The Electoral Commissioner Lawyer, Hamid Lugoloobi arrived after Justice Sekana had adjourned court. Achola ran to court on June 19th 2018 after Electoral Commission nullified her nomination, saying the names on her nomination papers don't correspond to those on her academic papers. While Achola's academic documents bear the names of Catherine Achola, she appears as Achola Catherine Osupelem on the voter's register. 

 

In his letter to Achola, the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi said the candidate didn't provide the Electoral Commission with evidence indicating that there was compliance with the law when she adopted the said names during the national identity card enrollment exercise in 2015. Following the nullification of Achola's nomination, Electoral Commission declared her National Resistance Movement-NRM party rival, Faith Alupo unopposed, which has become an issue of contention.

 

 

 

However, in her application, Achola argues that she included her father's Osupelem during the national identity card enrollment exercise.  According to Achola, she got a statutory declaration to that effect in 2015 when the National Identification Card was issued. The Senior Electoral Commission Lawyer, Eric Sabiiti asked court to dismiss Achola's application on grounds that she didn't comply with the rules set by the Commission. He explained that that rules demand that one should have similar names on his/her academic documents and the voter's register.

 

Sabiiti argued that the applicant's academic documents bear the names of Achola Catherine yet in the voters registrar where she was registered willingly she appears as Achola Catherine Osupelem, which means that they are two different people. He also told court that Achola didn't provide the Commission with any evidence indicating that there was compliance with the law when she adopted the said names during the national identity card enrollment exercise in 2015.

  

 

Achola's lawyer, Wilfred Nuwagaba dismissed the Electoral Commission's decision, saying it was illegal arguing that the Commission has failed to produce the second person using the same names.  He based his arguments on Section 15 of the Parliamentary Elections Act 2001. Nuwagaba explained that someone can only be declared unopposed when the date of voting has elapsed. 

Pallisa was supposed to go to the polls on June 28th, 2018, but before the date elapsed, NRM's Alupo was quickly sworn in as Woman Member of Parliament.  The Pallisa Woman MP seat fell vacant after the incumbent Member of Parliament Agnes Amede, decided to move to the newly created Butebo district that was carved out of Pallisa in 2017.