President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has had its numbers is Parliament reduced by two after the Court of Appeal nullified the election of two legislators.
Those thrown out are: Derrick Orone of Gogonyo County and Eddie Kwizera Wa-gahungu of Bukimbiri County.
The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Kwizera’s and Orone’s opponents, and ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to organize fresh elections.
Court of Appeal’s Justices Egonda-Ntende, Monica Mugenyi, and Muzamiru Kibeedi ruled in favour of Issa Bantalib Taligola who lost to Orone by a small margin in the 2021 parliamentary elections.
According to official results by the EC, NRM’s Orone garnered 6,314 votes while Bantalib polled 6,280.
Bantalib had run to the Court of Appeal after Mbale High Court’s Immaculate Busingye upheld Orone’s victory.
Bantalib accused Justice Busingye of ignoring evidence in which he sought to expose extra polling stations, falsified results and the use of the military to assist Orone campaign on polling day. The Court of Appeal judges ruled that the evidence was enough to throw out Orone and order a fresh poll.
For Bukimbiri, the petitioner, James Owebeyi of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), had performed poorly but complained that the ballots had names different from those of nominated candidates.
Kwizera had polled 11,821, Asgario Turyagyenda 11,330, Martin Muhereza 167 and Owebeyi 104 votes.
In his petition that was first lodged before Justice Phillip Odoki of the Kabale High Court, Owebeyi had sought orders for the nullification of the election results over errors on ballot papers. But Justice Odoki considered the huge margin between Owebeyi and Kwizera to throw out the FDC politician’s application.
But Justices Fredrick Egonda-Ntende and Eva Luswata ruled that since the Electoral Commission which had the statutory mandate to design, print, distribute and control voting materials conceded that mistakes were made while preparing the ballot papers for the Bukimbiri County constituency, it was clear that this grave error had affected the outcome of the election, and were a violation of the provisions of country’s electoral laws.