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Election Petition Loser ‘Ready for Jail’ Over Excessive Court Costs

Serere County’s unsuccessful MP candidate, Joseph Linos Opio has vowed not pay Court costs to Bishop Patrick Okabe, to whom he lost in the general elections and the subsequent court election petition.

Opio was in May this year ordered to pay Shs 378million to Okabe and another Shs 117million to the National Council for Higher Education Sh117M.

This was after the Court of Appeal in Kampala ruled in favor of Bishop Okabe as the duly elected MP for Serere County.

The three judges led by then Deputy Chief Justice Stephen Kavuma unanimously overturned the decision of the High Court in Soroti that had annulled the election of Bishop Okabe on grounds of lack of the requisite academic qualifications.

In the Appellant court ruling, the judges said they found that Opio illegally filed an election petition since he was not validly nominated as a candidate to contest in the election, and that he didn’t accompany his petition with 500 signatures from voters.

The judges also ruled that there was evidence that Opio’s nomination was rejected by the returning officer after finding out that his two nominees were not registered voters.

Opio, who is a distant relative of Okabe, told Chimpreports in an interview that he would rather get locked up and rot in jail than pay off the court awards.

“We won the case before the High Court in Soroti; we had presented all the necessary evidence to the effect that Okabe had no required academic documents. His father was one of our witnesses to this effect,” Opio said.

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“Paying off the costs would be like endorsing injustice. Again, where will I find all that money to waste? I am now preparing myself for prison and he should also prepare money to feed me while I am serving my jail sentence,” Opio said.

“The over Shs500 Million was just assessed at High Court level, I haven’t received the costs at the Court of Appeal. Where will all this money come from?”

Many election petition losers including FDC’s former Secretary General Alice Alaso faced it rough having to clear the court costs.

Some  ended up resorting to fundraising while others signed agreements with the winners to forego the costs, and in return vow not to challenge them in the subsequent elections.

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