Court Throws Out Minister Okello Engola over Academic Papers

4514 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
His main challenger Crispus Ayena Odongo successfully challenged his election on ground that a certificate from Air Defense College, Nakasongola that was presented prior to his nomination was invalid because the institution is not listed among institutions gazzated by Uganda National Council for higher education.

High Court in Lira has nullified the election of the Colonel Charles Okello Engola as the Oyam North Constituency Member of Parliament over lack of requisite academic qualifications. Engola is the newly appointed State Minister for Defence.

His main challenger Crispus Ayena Odongo successfully challenged his election on ground that a certificate from Air Defense College, Nakasongola that was presented prior to his nomination was invalid because the institution is not listed among colleges gazetted by Uganda National Council for higher education.

Ayena also contested discrepancies in the names that appear on the various documents that Engola presented for nomination. While some documents have letter 'P' in between, others did not.

Engola presented for nomination, the East African Certificate of Education obtained in 1977, a Masters Degree in Public Administration and Management from Kampala International University and a Certificate from Air Defense College, Nakasongola. All transcripts are recorded in the names of Okello Charles P. Engola.

But in an affidavit he swore to authenticate his documents, Okello Engola said he changed his name in 2005 to Okello Charles Engola MacOdwogo without the said "P". The letter 'P' is also nonexistent on his National Identity Card which bears the name Okello Engola Charles MacOdwogo.

Presiding Judge Night Percy Ayebazibwe questioned why he failed to include the letter 'P' in his December 27 2005 affidavit for change of names and on the National ID, saying these represent two different people. She ruled that Engola's nomination contravened Section 4 (c) of the Parliamentary Elections Act which puts the qualification of an MP at S.6 or its equivalent.

The judge also faulted Engola for failing to secure another certification letter from the National Council for Higher Education prior to his nomination in 2015. His documents were last certified on November 22 2010.

Engola won the February 18 parliamentary election with 21,785 votes, against 15,796 votes obtained by his rival Ayena Odong.