Despite his membership to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party – the main proponents of the restrictive method of campaigning that was introduced by the Electoral Commission (EC) ahead of this year’s general elections, former state minister for Housing, Sam Engola has run to court for orders that the electoral body acted outside the law.
In a petition filed at the High Court in Lira, Engola, the immediate former NRM vice-chairman in charge of Northern Uganda asked court to declare that the EC’s introduction of “scientific” elections was illegal, and thus order for fresh elections in Erute South where he lost to Jonathan Odur of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).
While the petition is focused on Erute South, should court agree with the petitioner, it will have a nationwide effect and most likely push the country back into a general election.
Engola also wants Odur’s election set aside citing electoral malpractices and irregularities including voter bribery on election day.
This is one of the three election petitions that were registered at the High Court in Lira at the closure of the mandatory period for filing parliamentary election petitions.
In another petition, Bony Aliro the NRM youth chairperson for Aromo sub-county wants the court to overturn Linda Agnes Auma’s election as Lira district Woman MP, and declare Florence Ongina Adupa, the runner up in the January 14 parliamentary elections as the winner.
Aliro argues that Auma was erroneously nominated by the second respondent – the EC since she did not resign as the Amuru Resident District Commissioner (RDC).
He also claims that Auma does not have the requisite academic qualifications for a Member of Parliament.
The third petition is by NRM’s James Onguu Tar who wants court to anull the election of UPC’s Bob Okae, and, declare him as the rightly elected MP for Kwania North, accusing the EC of non-compliance to the electoral laws.
Interviewed, Okae said he hadn’t been served with the petition but said that he is ready to defend his victory in court.
“I have not yet received that letter but I think going to court is not a problem because it is where the truth comes out. Besides Onguu is not a new person, during the last election he did the same thing; petitioning the court about election results which he even lost,” Okae said.
“If the ruling from this petition favor’s him then we shall go by it but if he happens to lose then he should be ready to pay everything. As for the issues of rigging elections, I did not participate in that, my win was declared in broad daylight,” he added.