By Markson Omagor
(SOURCE: COURT OF APPEAL RULING)
The Court of Appeal has ruled that whereas Bukedea Woman District MP opponent was illegally denied nomination by the Electoral Commission, Anita Among remains the unopposed MP.
The lead ruling dated 18th March 2021 and delivered by Justice Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi found out that Akol Hellen Odeke was irregularly stopped from getting nominated by the Electoral Commission.
The Justices however disappointed Akol when they declined from answering her Consequential plea of ordering for fresh nominations and elections in Bukedea.
“My understanding is that this Court has very wide inherent powers entitling us to make any orders that may be necessary for purposes of achieving justice and preventing abuse of court process. The question is whether these powers can be stretched to the extent of allowing this court to grant a remedy which affects even non-parties to this appeal, especially Hon. Among Anita who has already been gazetted by the Electoral Commission as unopposed Woman Member of Parliament for Bukedea,” Muzamiru concluded.
In essence, Akol’s prayer for the Court to invoke Rule 2(2) of the Court of Appeal to issue a Consequential order to the Electoral Commission to degazette Anita Among and conduct fresh elections was trashed.
The ruling follows an appeal filed by Akol against a one Umar Okodel who took the former to Soroti High Court claiming her names did not match those in the academic papers presented for nomination. Consequently Justice Wilson Musalu Musene on the 18th October 2020 ruled in Okodel’s favour.
In the Soroti High Court petition, Okodel on 21st September 2020 filed an application by way of Notice of Motion seeking to restrain Akol from being nominated on the ground that she was not a registered voter, had unlawfully changed her names and did not possess the minimum academic qualifications.
The Coram of Court of Appeal Justices that included; Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Stephen Musota and Muzamiru M. Kibeedi unanimously ruled that adopting a name of a spouse should not have been grounds strong enough for the trial court to disqualify Akol.
“I find that the names of Akol Hellen and Akol Hellen Odeke refer to the Respondent (Now Appellant) as one and the same person. The question of names is an extremely subjective matter and Trial Courts ought to be cautious in rushing to conclusions especially if the hurried conclusion precipitates a miscarriage of justice of such immense proportions,” Justice Bamugemereire ruled.
The Court of Appeal also ruled that the Ruling of the Trial Court is set aside. This was Justice Musenene ruling at Soroti High Court.
It also ruled that Akol is granted the costs of Appeal. The Justices however did not grant Akol costs of the High Court arguing that the basis of the appeal succeeding was that the High Court did not have original jurisdiction to try the dispute in this matter and since Akol and her legal team did not raise the issue at the Trial, they could not give her costs.
The two parties were therefore ordered to bear their own costs at the high court.