Credit New Vision
(Additional reporting by Markson Omagor)
Hellen Akol Odeke, a resident of Bukedea district has asked court to revoke Anita Among’s unopposed victory for woman MP Seat, arguing that the Electoral Commission illegally refused to nominate her.
Akol had picked interest of running for Bukedea district woman MP Seat but Soroti Resident Judge, Wilson Masalu issued an injuction stopping EC from nominating her on grounds that she is not a registered voter and therefore did not qualify to contest for the position.
Musene issued the decree on October 8,2020 following petition by a voter identified as Umar Odeke.
Appearing before a panel of three justices of court of appeal led by Catherine Bamugemereire on Tuesday, 15th December 2020, Akol through her lawyer, Jude Byamukama requested court to overturn Musene’s ruling and direct the EC to nominate her.
Other justices on the panel are; Muzamir Kibedi and Stephen Musota.
Byamukama submitted that the lower court judge erred in law and fact when he held that the names of Akol Hellen Odeke and Hellen Akol do not refer to the same person.
Akol argues that she assumed the name of Odeke upon marriage and that it was wrong for the judge to block her nomination. Akol is married to Soroti based businessman, Martin Odeke.
Akol also faults Musene for entertaining the matter which was challenging her election.
“It was wrong for the lower court judge to entertain the matter and it is contrary to the constitution and Parliamentary Elections Act,” Akol contends.
Akol wants Court to direct the EC to degazzette Anita Among and order for her (Hellen) nominated.
“The judge erred in law and fact when he held that the appellant does not possess the requisite academic qualifications for the nominations and the election under the name of Akol Hellen Odeke.
“We invite this court to invoke its powers under section 14 of the parliamentary Election sAct, 2005 and order the EC to degazzette Among and allow the people of Bukedea to choose their preferred representative,” Byamukama requested.
Odekel however, through his lawyers, Caleb Alaka and Joseph Kyazze asked court to dismiss the application arguing that it had been overtaken by events.
Bamugemereire directed the parties to file written submissions and judgment would be delivered on notice.
Before this court challenge, interesting things happened in Bukedea climaxing in having all the women who stood to replace Anita fail to be nominated.
Jessica Asio and Ketty Akello were denominated by the EC Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama on grounds that the people who allegedly nominated them petitioned his office arguing that their signatures had been forged.
The two women told Byabakama that there was no way they could have forged their proposers’ identities because they even had pictures of the same men willingly turning up to escort them to the Bukedea nomination center.
Ant it was upon that secondment that Bukedea District Returning Officer, Raymond Kisarare had nominated them.
Despite this glaring evidence the EC Chairman went ahead and denominated the pair.
The other would-be candidate for woman MP (whose supporters are now very heart broken) is Hellen Akol Odeke of the FDC party whose nomination was frustrated by Soroti High Court’s Wilson Masalu Musene who issued an injunction prohibiting her nomination by the EC on grounds that she had discrepancies in her names.
Okodel petitioned the Soroti High Court overlooking the deed poll the same woman had deposed in a bid to authenticate her names for purposes of the EC nomination. The 50-year-old FDC business lady has since teamed up with her party bosses at Najjanankumbi to ponder challenging the EC’s decision not to have her nominated: in Court.
Merab Amongin, the other would-be contender for the Bukedea woman MP Seat was overcome much earlier on when the courts of law were used to render her ineligible. She was put on a very curious criminal trial under the claim that she was running a pharmacy/drug shop called Samantha in Bukedea town without proper authorization by NDA. She curiously was put on trial which Byabakama says naturally made her ineligible to stand for the MP Seat especially after Bukedea Grade I Magistrate convicted and sentenced her to be in prison for 2 years and nine months without the option of paying a fine.