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Court of Appeal Hands Back Oyam North MP Seat to Defense Minister

Court of Appeal has Monday overturned the decision by the Lira High Court to nullify the election of Defense Minister Okello Engora Macodwongo’s as the Oyam North MP on grounds that he  lacked minimum academic qualifications.

The minister petitioned the appellant court challenging the June 2016 High Court ruling by Judge Jessica Naiga Ayebazibwe.

The judge had ruled in favor of Engora’s political rival; UPC’s Ayena Odongo, who argued that the minister obtained a Masters Degree of Arts and Public Administration from KIU in another person’s names, which he used to obtain nomination forms for the Oyam North MP race.

Court of Appeal judges Stephen Kavuma, Elizabeth Musoke and Cheborion Bulshaki scrutinized the evidence which was contained in the High court’s records of proceedings, and unanimously faulted the High Court judge for wrongly applying the law on election matters when she shifted the burden of proof of academic qualifications from the petitioner (Ayena Odongo) to Minister Okello (respondent), well knowing that naturally he who alleges must prove to court’s satisfaction.

The judges also found in the evidence on record that the minister possessed more than the required qualifications since he presented a Masters Degree for nomination which Ayena, in their view, failed to prove it belonged to someone else.

On the ground of discrepancy in names, court ruled that the minister’s names Okello Charles Peter and Okello P. Engora Macodogwo did not have an effect on his academic qualifications as earlier decided by Justice Naiga, because there is no law through which the arrangement of names may affect some body’s qualifications.

In his affidavit, Minister Engora explained that Engora is his father’s name; letter P stands for Patrick and that he acquired the name Macodwongo for political reasons.

Basing on the above, Minister Engora was declared and confirmed as the Oyam North MP, while Ayena was ordered to pay 50% of the costs which the minster spent in both the appellant and lower court.

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Addressing the press after court, a thrilled Engora called upon his rival (Ayena) to join him to develop Oyam and the whole Acholi sub region.

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