What you need to know:
- FDC says Akol only presented a plain Diploma certificate on social work and social administration from Markland Institute of Business and Management, without a certificate from the National Council of Higher Education (NHCE).
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party has challenged the nomination of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate in the Bukedea LC5 by-election scheduled for next week.
In their petition dated June 7, 2023 addressed to the chairman Electoral Commission, FDC contends that the NRM candidate, Ms Mary Akol, did not submit the required academic documents during her nomination and should therefore be removed from the race.
Akol was duly nominated on Monday June 5, by Bukedea returning officer, Mr Suleiman Kato. Others cleared by the Electoral Commission run for the same seat which fell vacant following the death of Moses Olemukan in December last year include; Lokwiisk Tychicus Ebukalin (Independent) and FDC’s Oita Sam Odeke.
However, FDC says Akol only presented a plain Diploma certificate on social work and social administration from Markland Institute of Business and Management, without a certificate from the National Council of Higher Education (NHCE) to confirm whether the academic paper presented is an equivalent of Advanced level standard within the provisions of the Chapter 243, Section III of the Local Government Act cap 2015 as amended.
The petition signed by Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, FDC secretary general and copied to the Bukedea District returning officer demands that the EC nullifies the candidature of Ms Akol since she did not present the required academic documents during the time of her nomination.
“It’s confirmed that the NRM candidate only has a diploma without senior four and senior six. Even the diploma is not approved by the National Council of Higher Education,” Mr Oita told this publication on Thursday.
Mr Paul Bukenya, the EC spokesperson, confirmed that the commission has received the FDC petition. He said they have invited all parties to their offices for a hearing tomorrow (Friday).
“Yes, the complaint lodged by the FDC is with us and we have invited the parties to our offices for a hearing tomorrow,” Mr Bukenya said.
Ms Akol was not available for a comment as her aides said she was busy campaigning. But NRM chairperson for Bukedea, Mr James Micheal Ongole, said that their candidate was duly verified by the EC before she was nominated on Monday.
“All the required documents were presented and our candidate was nominated in the presence of even the FDC officials. Where were they to raise questions then?” Mr Ongole said.
EC condemns violence in by-election
The Electoral Commission has condemned the election-related violence against Mr David Steven Omagor who is one of the Bukedea LC5 aspirants in the forthcoming by-elections set for June 14.
Mr Omagor was assaulted by a group of people, who he termed as ‘goons’ on Tuesday as he turned up for the nomination exercise at Bukedea District Electoral Commission offices. He noted that, while getting out of his car at the EC office, he was attacked by close to 50 goons who beat him and tore his clothes.
“The Electoral Commission strongly condemns this act [assault of political candidate] as intolerant, unacceptable and criminal because it infringes on the rights of citizens to freely participate in the electoral activities. Such violent conduct also damages our democratic and electoral processes,” the electoral body’s Thursday statement reads in part.
The commission further urged police to investigate into the matter to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
“The commission further urges candidates, their agents and supporters to refrain from any acts of aggression and violence and comply with the law by observing electoral guidelines in order to achieve peaceful by-elections.”
The Bukedea LC5 seat fell vacant following the death of the former Chairperson Moses Olemukan, who succumbed to colon cancer in December 2022.