Principal Judge Intervenes in Otto, Kidega Electoral Squabbles

1626 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Bickering between Odonga Otto and Kidega started in 2011 when they contested for the Aruu County Parliamentary seat. Otto was declared winner after polling 14,216 votes against Kidegas 12,653. However, Kidega filed an application for a recount of votes at Kitgum Chief Magistrates court.

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine has called for a review of files related to costs in an election Petition pitting former Amuru Resident District Commissioner Kidega James Nabinson against Aruu County MP Samuel Odonga Otto.

He says he has received complaints from M/S Okello - Oryem & company Advocates stating that their client Kidega James Nabinson is still being served with arrest warrants although he has already paid the costs to the suit.

Lawyer Oryem says that his client had paid up to 39 million Shillings after being condemned to pay costs of 37,637,000 Shillings. However, his file has not been closed and that the Gulu Deputy Registrar continues to sanction arrest warrants against him.

Bickering between Odonga Otto and Kidega started in 2011 when they contested for the Aruu County Parliamentary seat. Otto was declared winner after polling 14,216 votes against Kidega's 12,653. However, Kidega filed an application for a recount of votes at Kitgum Chief Magistrate's court.

The application was dismissed with costs.  Subsequently, Kidega, still being dissatisfied with the final outcome of the results, filed another petition in the High Court. He argued that the election was not conducted in compliance with the provisions and principles of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act.

But presiding judge Rubby Apio Aweri dismissed the petition with costs on account that Kidega had failed to prove his case to the satisfaction of court. Kidega was expected to pay over 37 million Shillings to Odonga Otto as costs for the petition.

However, Otto accuses Kidega of failing to clear the costs arising out of the electoral petition.

Last week Kwanya Wilson, the Aswa Regional Police commander declined to sign a High Court order for the arrest of Kidega secured on the May 3, by Aciro T/A court bailiffs & auctioneers on behalf of Odonga Otto. Kwania said police's legal team had detected loopholes in the order since there was proof Kidega paid some money.

In a letter dated May 11, Justice Bamwine directed Gulu Resident Judge Margret Mutonyi to provide guidance to the deputy Registrar and take appropriate action in the matter.  The letter was in response to a formal complaint dated May 9 by Okello Oryem, as a legal representative of Kidega.

Kidega James Nabinson told Uganda Radio Network that they are waiting for Gulu Resident Judge, Margret Mutonyi currently hearing election petitions in Jinja High Court to finish so that the issue is reviewed.