The ruling party NRM secretariat has called on its members who have been kicked out of the August House after losing petitions to appeal to the higher courts of law.
About eleven National Resistance Movement MPs in the 10th Parliament have lost their seats in recent election petitions on various grounds including lack of academic papers, voter bribery, and noncompliance of the election rules.
On Tuesday in separate court rulings, NRM lost four more MPs after the High Courts in Jinja, Mbale, Kampala and Lira nullified the February 18 election of Hajat Rehema Watongola (Kamuli municipality), Annet Nyaketcho (Tororo North), Edward Ssembatya (Katikamu South) and Col Charles Okello Engola, the minister of state for Defence and NRM MP for Oyam North.
NRM secretariat’s communications officer Rogers Mulindwa said all losers appeal the High court rulings at the Court of Appeal and once the rulings are upheld, it (NRM) will find other candidates to field.
He exonerated Prof. Tanga Odoi led the October 2015 NRM primaries and piled the blame for the current chaos on inefficiency at National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) whose mandated is to verify the candidates’ academic papers before they are endorsed to stand by the national Electoral Commission.
“We have also seen incidents where people have been rejected over academic documents and they turn around and come back. The Secretariat is talking to our members who were removed from Parliament because of the recent election petitions across the country to be ready to file appeals as we seek to overturn the results,” Mr Mulindwa said.
Citing the case Defence state minister Charles Okello Engola Macodwogo who Lira High Court Justice Night Percy Tuhaise ordered alongside the National Council for Higher Education to pay half of the cost of the suit to the petitioner, Mr Mulindwa fired shots at the Kyambogo based state body for its negligence.
“Most of these petitions were poorly handled because first of all the NRM EC did its job well before letting them stand in the general elections and secondly no Court of law has the obligation of verifying academic papers because that’s the job of NCHE,” he said.
Election laws in Uganda demand that for one to become a member of parliament, he/she must have attained a minimum level certificate of education of senior six or its equivalent.
“The party will help them all the way through the appeal process and if there any who fail to reclaim their seats, we shall go back to the drawing table and get new candidates to take up the empty slots,” Mulindwa added.