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Anita Among retains Bukedea Woman MP seat as Court rejects opponent’s push to overturn her ‘unopposed’ status

Deputy Speaker Anita Among.

The Court of Appeal has declined prayers by MP Anita Annet Among’s opponent Hellen Akol Odeke to order the Electoral Commission (EC) to degazette her as a Among unopposed for the Bukedea Woman MP seat.

In October 2020, the EC declared Among unopposed throwing her opponents from the race for various reasons.

For example, the EC disqualified Merab Amongin for reportedly forging academic documents and supporter signatures.

The commission also threw out the other Among opponent, Hellen Akol Odeke, because she had documents with two differing names for the same person.

But three Court of Appeal judges Catherine Bamugemereire, Stephen Musota and Muzamiru Kibedi unanimously punched holes in a ruling by Soroti High Court judge Wilson Masalu Musene.

“Accordingly, it is my finding that the High Court sitting at Soroti did not have jurisdiction to hear and determine the respondent’s application as a court of the first instance,” read part of the ruling as written by Justice Kibedi.

“The effect of this finding is that the orders made by the High Court were a nullity. To use the language of words, and phrases legally defined: where the court takes it upon itself to exercise a jurisdiction which it does not possess, its decisions amount to nothing. This ground alone fully disposes of all other grounds of appeal.”

Justice Musene had ruled in favour of Bukedea voter Umar Okodel who sought orders to have Odeke’s nomination blocked, saying she was not a register voter and had irregularly changed her name.

But the judges refused to order Among out of her MP seat.

“It is my holding that rule 2(2) of the rules of this court is no license for this court to make orders which would be tantamount to a breach of constitutionally guaranteed rights especially the right to fair hearing as enshrined in Article 28 and 44 of the constitution,” ruled the Court of Appeal bench.

“Accordingly, I would decline to exercise the inherent powers of this court to grant the consequential orders sought by the appellant.”

The ruling comes as a sigh of relief for Among who is vying for the deputy speaker job, currently held by Jacob Oulanyah.

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