Court Dismisses Election Petitions against MP Isaac Etuka

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In short
Two separate petitions had been filed separately by Jimmy Madira, an independent candidate and John Arumadri Drazu, the Forum for Democratic Change -FDC party candidate. Both Candidates lost the race to Etuka, a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement NRM party.

High Court in Arua has dismissed two election petitions against Isaac Etuka, the Member of Parliament for Upper Madi-Okollo constituency in Arua district.

Two separate petitions had been filed separately by Jimmy Madira, an independent candidate and John Arumadri Drazu, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidate. Both Candidates lost the race to Etuka, a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement - NRM party.

Both petitions wanted court to determine whether Etuka's was duly nominated for the position citing irregularities in the process leading to his candidature.  Arumadri, one of the petitioners also accused the Electoral Commission of affecting the final result of the February 18, parliamentary vote.

The two petitioners argued that the Electoral Commission erred in the inclusion of Isaac Etuka on the ballot paper because he had earlier been de-nominated on the basis of a court order secured by Martin Drito, the former area legislator.

Drito sought the order to block Etuka's candidature on grounds that his victory in the NRM party primaries was a result of rigging, voter bribery and violence. Drito lost to Etuka in the NRM primaries.
 
However, Etuka emerged winner of the race that attracted six candidates.  He obtained 7,236 votes beating FDC's John Arumadri Drazu who polled 3,906 votes while the incumbent Martin Drito got 2,097 votes.  The other contenders were Jimmy Madira who polled 1,012, Bruno Onzima 313 and Asedri Ayemi 283.
 
In his ruling delivered this morning, Justice John Eudes Keitirima noted that the restraining order issued was delivered on December 1 2015, three days after the NRM declared its flag bearer for the constituency implying that it was overrun by events, noting that it was inconsequential.
 
Justice Keitirima observes that the two petitions did not dispute the final outcomes of the elections and thus upheld Etuka's victory.
 
'I find the first respondent duly nominated in accordance with the Parliamentary Elections' Act 2005 as amended and thereby dismiss the petition,' reads in part the ruling of the judge.
 
The two petitioners have been ordered to meet the costs of each of their petitions.
 
Jimmy Madira, one of the petitioners disagrees with the ruling and notes that the judge misinterpreted the evidence adduced before him. He is planning to appeal the ruling.
 
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John Arumadri declined to speak to the media, hopped into his car saying he will make a statement over the ruling at an appropriate time.

These rulings bring to one the remaining number of election petitions in West Nile region. Next week on June 24th, the High Court will make its pronouncement on the election petition filed against Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga which disputes the results declaration forms used by EC to announce him winner.

 

About the author

Annet Lekuru
Annet Lekuru is the Uganda Radio Network bureau chief for Arua. She is new in this post, assigned August 2016. However, she is no stranger to URN subcribers and readers.

Lekuru started her journalism career in 2011 with training from Radio Paris where she worked until April 2015. She started writing for URN in May 2015 as a freelance reporter.

Lekuru loves and continues to admire URN because of the reporter privilege to identify and report on issues close to one's heart which offers an opportunity to the reporter to develop a passion in a beat and report on it exhaustively.

With a background training in Conflict Sensitive Journalism she hopes to graduate into doing remarkable and recognised human rights and human interest stories in the near future.

She is interested in reporting on issues of justice, law, human rights and health.