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Soroti City Boundary Judgement Set for Friday

The application is seeking review of November 26th, 2020 ruling where Justice Masalu reverted Aloet and Opiyai wards to Soroti City West Division. The wards, that were initially in Soroti City West during creation of Soroti City were moved to Soroti City East Division. The application is also seeking to nullify elections of Soroti City.
EC Lawyer, Patrick Wetaka making his argument at Soroti High Court, seated is Fiona Namirembe, counsel for defendants.

Audio 1

Justice Wilson Masalu Musene has set Friday, March 5 when he will deliver his ruling on an application by the Soroti Municipality MP, Herbert Edmund Ariko seeking review of the November 26th, 2020 judgement on Soroti City boundaries.

The application is seeking review of the judgement in which Justice Masalu reverted Aloet and Opiyai wards to Soroti City West Division. The wards, which were initially in Soroti City West during the creation of Soroti City, were moved to Soroti City East Division. The application is also seeking to nullify the elections of Soroti City.

Ariko, the applicant, lost to FDC’s Moses Attan Okia in the new Soroti City East Division seat. He contends that the loss was caused by the alteration of the city boundaries that annexed Aloet and Opiyai wards to Soroti City West Division. Ariko claims that the two wards were his strongholds. He dragged the petitioners of the November ruling to court. They include Michael Enyagu Etadu, Robert Onanyang, Stephen Erienyu, Patrick Ejelu and Brian Omoding who are property owners and residents of Soroti City.

The hearing was adjourned last week when the lawyer representing the first five defendants, Ivan Omolo asked for more time to allow them to file the affidavits. The lawyer had also indicated that the defendants needed some adjustments on the lawyer that will be representing them in court.

As the hearing of the case commenced on Tuesday morning, the defendants were represented by Fiona Namirembe who first asked the court to have the matter handled through judicial review.

But after her argument was overruled and the lawyers for the applicant made their oral submissions, Namirembe declined to make a rejoinder on grounds that she had not received instructions from her clients. She instead asked the court to allow her to make written submissions which Justice Musene didn’t grant.

// cue in “This court granted…

Cue out…open court”//

Patrick Wetaka, the lawyer representing the Electoral Commission told the court that they will implement any orders given by the court.

Robert Kirunda and Yusuf Mutembuli, the lawyers representing Ariko argue that the November 26th High Court decision lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter being an electoral related complaint. The lawyers also argue that the decision was tainted with illegality and that it lacked requisite legal and statutory authority to demarcate the electoral areas. 

Ariko’s lawyers also argue that the High Court didn’t take into considerations the gazette notice issued by the Minister of Local Government vide General Notice 1413 of 2020 vide Uganda Gazette of November 13th, 2020, among other arguments.