By Spy Uganda
The latest landing on desk indicates that Court of Appeal has kicked two National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislators; Gogonyo County MP Derrick Orone and Bukimbiri MP Eddie Kwizera out of parliament.
The judgement has been declared by a panel of justices led by Egonda-Ntende, Monica Mugenyi, and Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi who directed the Electoral Commission to organize fresh elections within two months.
According to official results by the EC, NRM’s Orone garnered 6,314 votes while Bantalib polled 6,280.
Bantalib had run to the Court of Appeal after Mbale High Court’s Immaculate Busingye upheld Orone’s victory.
Bantalib accused Justice Busingye of ignoring evidence in which he sought to expose extra polling stations, falsified results and the use of the military to assist Orone campaign on polling day. The Court of Appeal judges ruled that the evidence was enough to throw out Orone and order a fresh poll.
For Bukimbiri, the petitioner, James Owebeyi of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), had performed poorly but complained that the ballots had names different from those of nominated candidates.
Kwizera had polled 11,821, Asgario Turyagyenda 11,330, Martin Muhereza 167 and Owebeyi 104 votes.
In his petition that was first lodged before Justice Phillip Odoki of the Kabale High Court, Owebeyi had sought orders for the nullification of the election results over errors on ballot papers. But Justice Odoki considered the huge margin between Owebeyi and Kwizera to throw out the FDC politician’s application.
But Justices Fredrick Egonda-Ntende and Eva Luswata ruled that since the Electoral Commission which had the statutory mandate to design, print, distribute and control voting materials conceded that mistakes were made while preparing the ballot papers for the Bukimbiri County constituency, it was clear that this grave error had affected the outcome of the election, and were a violation of the provisions of country’s electoral laws.
However, in today’s judgement, justices Fredrick Egonda-Ntende and Eva Luswata noted that the errors on the ballot papers – introducing unknown names that substituted those of the known candidates, was an anomaly on the part of the Electoral Commission, which affected the results in a substantial manner.
“The Electoral Commission which has the statutory mandate to design, print, distribute and control voting material conceded that mistakes were made while preparing the ballot papers for the Bukimbiri County constituency. I instead considered it as a grave error that amounted to a defect”, wrote justice Luswata in a majority decision.
According to Luswata and Egonda-Ntende, such a blatant error shouldn’t have gone unnoticed during the preparation of the ballot papers.
“The use of defective ballot papers in the election amounted to noncompliance with the constitution and electoral laws that govern a free and fair election,” said the justices.