June 5, 2013

Butebo By- Election: EC Disqualifies NRM Independent

Electoral Commission has nullified Richard Anthony Oseku Oriebo, an independent candidate from the Butebo county MP by-elections. It follows a petition filed by the National Resistance Movement challenging the nomination of Oseku on grounds that he is still a serving member of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces. A statement issued by Engineer Dr Badru Kigundu, the chairperson Electoral Commission shortly after receiving the petition, the commission invited representatives of both parties for hearings on 28th and 30th May respectively.

Kiggundu notes that during the hearing it was established that Oseku was seconded to the Internal Security Organization by the UPDF at the rank of Sergeant under service number RA/122998. He explains that while Oseku resigned from ISO, he has never initiated his retirement process with the UPDF, his principal employer. Section 4 (4) (b) of the Parliamentary Elections Act 17 of 2005, which states that a public officer or person employed in government department or agency of government or employee of Local Government or anybody in which the government has controlling interest who wishes to stand for election as Member of Parliament shall in case of by-election, resign his or her office fourteen days before nomination day.

According to Kiggundu, they took the decision to disqualify Oseku from the race basing on the available evidence. He however, says that decision came after the electoral commission had already printed and dispatched materials with Oseku’s name. He advises voters in Butebo not to cast votes for Oseku because they will be counted as invalid. EC has also moved to pin the notice of disqualification at all polling stations in the constituency. Speaking to Redpepper on phone Oseku described his disqualification as an injustice to his candidacy and the people of Butebo. Oseku, who is still pondering his next move, wonders why NRM did not disqualify his candidacy during the 2011 general elections when he stood for the same position.

Oseku argues that the move that has obviously frustrated him because he was the best contender and threat to his NRM rival. Oseku’s disqualification leaves six candidates in the race. They are Aisu Elizabeth, Kashodo Eria, and Ssajjabi Yotha, all Independents. Others are Khalwa Samuel FDC, Ziwa Zaid Democratic Party and Mutono Lodoi Patrick for the National Resistance Movement. The Butebo parliamentary seat that fell vacant on April 11th after the death of Dr. Stephen Malinga, the former Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness.

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