Busia councillors reject new LC5 chairperson

Saturday December 8 2018

Mr Geoffrey Wandera swearing in as the new

Mr Geoffrey Wandera swearing in as the new Busia District Chairperson. PHOTO BY DAVID AWORI 

By DAVID AWORI & FRED WAMBEDE

Busia. The Busia District Council has rejected the newly elected LC5 chairperson, Mr Geoffrey Wandera, describing his election as null and void.
Mr Wandera was declared unopposed on November 26 by the district returning officer, Mr Umar Kiyimba, after his two opponents, Mr Chrispus Bwire and Tony Ojambo withdrew from the race.
On November 27, the Electoral Commission (EC) gazetted Mr Wandera as the chairperson the same day the High Court in Mbale issued an interim order stopping the said exercise.
Mr Deogratius Hasubi Njoki, through his lawyer Yusuf Mutembuli, had petitioned the High Court challenging the decision of the EC to kick him out of the race.
The EC cancelled Mr Njoki’s nomination and that of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidate, Mr Paul Boniface Oguttu, who were the main contenders in the race on separate grounds.
According to the EC, Mr Njoki was not a registered voter and thus unqualified to contest whereas Mr Oguttu’s academic papers had disparities in names.
Amidst protest from the Opposition, Mr Wandera was, nevertheless, sworn in by the Busia Chief Magistrate, Ms Catherine Adwero as the elected chairperson.
However, during a council sitting on Thursday at the district headquarters, which Mr Wandera attended, councillors lebelled his presence as strange and said council business should only proceed if he left the house.
“He was never elected as a district chairperson through a proper process because there was a court order, so we should not be here as council to promote illegalities,” Mr Raymong Ochieng, the district councillor for Western Division, said.
The council meeting was chaired by the speaker, Ms Betty Ajambo.
Mr John Obuli, the Workers councilor, said the council should tread carefully before receiving Mr Wandera as the district chairperson.
Mr Walter Iriam, the chief administrative officer, pleaded with councillors to allow the sitting to proceed in vain. This forced the speaker to adjourn the council until further notice.

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