Soroti East by election Voters question EC on illegal parishes
the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama

Some voters have asked the Electoral Commission to suspend the Soroti East by-election for now since some illegal voters were allowed to vote.

A section of voters have challenged the Electoral Commission to suspend the Soroti East by-election for now on account that a section of illegal voters have been allowed to cast votes in the polls.

According to Micheal Enyangu and Enoch Opio, the two voters who issued a complaint, through their lawyers of Kaganzi and Company advocates, it is not in the right sense that an election is held with illegalities.

The lawyers say it is unconstitutional for not deleting 5233 voters from two parishes of Aloet and Opiyai in Soroti East Division which they say are illegal.

This followed an earlier Court of Appeal decision in which it was ruled that the voters in the two parishes had earlier in January 2021 participated in the election of the Member of Parliament for Soroti West Division Constituency.

The court had nullified the election of the Soroti East MP arguing that it was illegal for the Electoral Commission to reconstitute the constituency’s boundaries.

The Electoral Commission recently wrote back to the two petitioners saying that the two parishes will now vote in the forthcoming Soroti East by-election since they are now part of the constituency.

“Neither the court judgement nor the electoral laws prohibit the voters registered in Aloet and Opiyai parishes from voting in the constituency and their participation doesn’t offend the provisions of Section 31 of the Parliamentary Elections Act 2005 or any of the enabling electoral laws,” the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama stated earlier on in response to the petitioners.

However, in their complaint, the lawyers insist it is not legal for the two parishes to again participate in the forthcoming by-election yet their votes were earlier counted in the Soroti West division constituency.

“A total of 5233 voters are being moved from Soroti City West to go and vote in the by-election in Soroti City East. Whereas the by-election is to be held in Soroti City East, the numbers are so significant that the election in Soroti City West cannot be allowed to stand, “Lawyer Kaganzi said.

In addition, he said once the situation is not changed, they will be returning to court for further directions. 

“This is to put Electoral Commission on notice of our decision to take the matter further so that courts can guide us on what to be done. They voted and their votes are part of what was declared by the Electoral Commission. 

At the same time, they are being told to vote in the by-election for another MP in Soroti City East and that will be a direct contravention of the laws governing elections in Uganda. A person cannot vote more than once,” Kaganzi added.

Meanwhile, the Soroti East by-election will be held on July 28, 2022. NRM’s Ariko will be looking to lock horns with FDC’s Moses Attan who was earlier also supported by opposition colleagues of the National Unity Platform.