Aruu North County Vote Recount Flops

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In short
Kidega lost to Lucy Achiro Otim, an independent candidate in the race that attracted five candidates. Achiro emerged winner of the February, 18 election with a difference of two votes. She polled 8,599 votes against Kidegas 8,597, according to results released by Pader district returning officer Joseph Amone.

The planned vote recount for the Aruu North County parliamentary seat has hit a snag after one of the parties protested over the storage of ballot boxes.

The recount, which was due to take place yesterday, followed an application filed by Kidega Nabinson James, the National Resistance Movement - NRM party candidate for the Aruu North County parliamentary seat.

Kidega lost to Lucy Achiro Otim, an independent candidate in the race that attracted five candidates. Achiro emerged winner of the February, 18 election with a difference of two votes. She polled 8,599 votes against Kidega's 8,597, according to results released by Pader district returning officer Joseph Amone.

But Kidega says many of his valid votes were erroneously invalidated, an argument that prompted Kitgum Chief Magistrate Japyem Okongo to order for a recount.

However, the recount flopped when Odongo otto, the lawyer representing Lucy Achiro Otim, the declared winner of the hotly contested race said they couldn't be party to the recount since the ballots were stored in an illegal location.

Otto says the ballots should have been kept at the offices of the Electoral Commission as provided for in the Parliamentary Elections Act 2005 (as amended), instead of the store at Pader Central Police Station.
 
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Following the objection raised by Odonga Otto, the Chief Magistrate Japyem Okongo held separate closed door meetings with both parties in his Pader court chamber and ruled that the recount be shifted to Monday after resolving the impasse over the storage of the ballot boxes.

Earlier, there was drama in Kitgum Magistrate court as Odonga Otto stormed out with his client, citing bias.  Otto had presented an affidavit from his client stating that her results from Wii Akado polling station had been under declared as 108 instead of 168.

He wanted court to pronounce itself on the matter by declaring that the declaration of results forms be properly included in the final tally for Aruu North County.
 
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Japyem Okongo, the chief magistrate of Kitgum district ruled that the case was misguided since the Chief Magistrate's court only exercises jurisdiction over matters seeking a vote recount.

Defense lawyers describe the walk out as contempt of court and behavior unbecoming of a legislator.

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This is the second time; James Kidega Nabinson is locking horns with Samuel Odonga Otto in politically related legal battles. In 2011, he challenged Odonga Otto's victory for Aruu County parliamentary seat and lost the court case.