By Sania Babirye
The court of appeal has overturned the decision by the Soroti high court that had nullified the election of NRMs Serere County MP Patrick Okabe over lack of the requisite academic papers and non-compliance with the law.
Three court of appeal justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, Cheborion Barishaki and Alfonse Owiny-Dollo have ruled that the petitioner Josep Opio Linos from UPC party did not have the capacity within which to challenge Okabe’ s victory since there is no evidence that he was validly elected as a candidate to contest in the concluded elections .
The justices have also ruled that Opio did not have the required 500 signatures from voters to challenge the elections.
The justices have further ruled that there is evidence that Opio’s nomination was rejected by the returning officer after finding out that his 2 nominees were not registered voters.
That even though Opio appealed to the Electoral Commission, there is no minutes on court record showing that the 5 members of the commission sat and either unanimously or by majority vote decided to nominate him.
In conclusion the justices have ruled that the election petition was not valid to be considered in the High court.
In September 2016 Justice Billy Kainamura nullified Okabe’s victory on grounds that he used different names on his academic papers during his senior four at Ayer secondary school where he used Ocen Oliba Patrick while on his nominations he used Patrick Okabe.
UPC’s Opio had also accused EC of omitting his name on the ballot papers denying his supporters a right to vote a candidate of their own choice.
Photo Credit: Chimp reports