Court orders Minister Opendi out of Parliament

2674 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Court found that the election results were altered in favor of State Minister, Sarah Achieng Opendi. Opendi is also Tororo Woman Member of Parliament.

The High Court in Mbale has ordered that the Electoral Commission conducts fresh election for Tororo Woman parliamentary seat after nullifying the election of Minister Sarah Acheing Opendi.

The court today ruled that Health State Minister Sarah Acheing Opendi be kicked out of the August House saying her election was not held in compliance with the Electoral laws.

Opendi was in February declared winner of the Tororo Woman Parliamentary seat after allegedly garnering over sixty two thousand votes. Her election was however challenged by her main challenger, Jacinta Ayo who had garnered close to sixty thousand votes.

Jacinta Ayo in a petition said the elections were not held in compliance with the electoral laws. She alleged that the electoral commission altered the results of the election in some polling stations to the advantage of Achieng Opendi. 

She further alleged that Achieng Opendi or through her agents and or with her consent directly participated in voter buying.

Ayo presented 52 affidavits to support her allegations. Among the affidavits are the declaration of results forms and tallying sheets.

In the affidavits, at Kwapa polling station the declaration forms indicate that Ayo polled 244 votes while in the tallying sheet, the electoral commission indicated zero votes, at Mission Hope polling station, Ayo polled 204 votes but in the tallying sheet the electoral commission indicated she got zero vote, at Ramogi polling station, Ayo polled 313 votes but she was given zero vote in the tallying sheets.

Similarly, at Guest House polling station Ayo polled 251 votes but she was given zero, at Sironjo polling station she got 171 votes but the electoral commission gave her 17 votes, at Magola Society headquarters polling station Ayo got 405 votes but she was given 45 votes, at Tira polling station Ayo polled 232 votes ad she was given 118 votes.

Ayo further alleged that the results of all the polling station from Osukuru sub county was delivered to the tallying centre after 24 hours contrary to Article 61 (c) of the constitution of Uganda and Article 51 (1) (a) of the Parliamentary Election Act.

Delivering the ruling at High Court in Mbale, Justice Margret Oguli Oumo ruled that Electoral Commission did not comply with the Electoral law when it declared Opendi winner of the February 18th elections. She the election did not meet the principle of free and fair elections.

Justice Oguli also ruled that court found that election results were altered in favor of Sarah Opendi.

According to the court's findings, Jacinta Ayo should have emerged winner of the disputed polls had the Electoral commission used the original declaration forms.

She ruled that court found out that Ayo was denied a total of 1, 765 votes through the alteration of results. She argued that if the results were correctly tallied, Ayo would have scored 61, 276 votes against Achieng's 60, 772 votes.

Justice Oguli said Ayo adduced substantial evidence and proved beyond the satisfaction of court that the election results were altered to favour Sarah Achieng Opendi, something she says proved that the election was not held in compliance of the electoral laws.

She ruled that court found out that Ayo was denied a total of 1, 765 votes through the alteration of results. She argued that if the results were correctly tallied, Ayo would have scored 61, 276 votes against Achieng's 60, 772 votes.

Oguli however ruled that the petitioner failed to provide substantial evidence to back her allegation of voter bribery against the 1st respondent.

The original declaration forms tendered in court indicate that Jacinta Ayo garnered sixty one thousand two hundred and seventy six votes while Opendi had sixty thousand seven hundred and seventy two votes. Justice Oguli Oumo ordered Sarah Achieng Opendi to foot the cost of the petition.

 

Tagged with: election petitions