The Court of Appeal in Kampala have nullified the election of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s Moses Attan as the Soroti City East legislator and ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct fresh by-elections.
In a Tuesday May, 24, 2020 ruling read by registrar Susan Kanyange on behalf of judges; Justice Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Gashirabake, court upheld the High Court judgment and indicated that the demarcation of boundaries within the constituency was not properly followed during the electoral process.
During the January 2021 polls, Attan won the election after obtaining 7,606 votes, Ariko gathered 7,164 votes, Jimmy Ekemu (NRM) got 397 votes, Sarah Inadiu (IND) got 185, James Herbert Elaju (UPC) 99 votes, and Arnold Emachu (NUP) 86 votes
However, Herbert Edmund Ariko ran to court challenging Attan’s Victory and in August last year, Soroti High court judge Anne Mugenyi the High Court in Soroti nullified the election of Attan on grounds that his election was conducted in non-existent wards of Aloet and Opiyai.
Mugenyi’s decision was based on March 10, 2021, High court judgment that saw justice Wilson Masalu Musene revert Opiyai and Aloet to Soroti City East Division. The two wards had previously been annexed to Soroti City West Division by the same judge in November 2020.
But justice Musene said that he had not been served with documents for the creation of Soroti city from parliament and declaration of the cabinet on the same, hence his decision.
Mugenyi relied on the same decision, noting that there was gross non-compliance with the electoral laws which affected the results in a substantial manner because there was disenfranchising of 5,233 voters from both Aloet and Opiyai.
Mugenyi ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections and ordered Attan to pay costs to Ariko.
Attan through his lawyers of Galisonga and Company Advocates and Alliance Advocates filed an appeal raising six major grounds which he says that the Soroti High court judge erred upon to reach her decision.
According to the appeal, Attan among other grounds argued that the trial judge erred in law in entertaining Ariko’s petition because she didn’t have jurisdiction to hear it while relying on the decisions made by the same court to which High court lacked jurisdiction.