The Electoral Commission has announced that Aruu By -election is to be held on April 6th 2017. The seat fell vacant after the Court of Appeal upheld a high court ruling nullifying the election of MP Lucy Aciro Otim as the area legislator’

The Court of Appeal  nullified the election of Ms Lucy Achiro Otim as the new Member of Parliament for Aruu North Constituency in Pader District, citing noncompliance with the election laws.

After the 2016 February 18 elections, Kitgum Chief Magistrate Japyem Okongo ordered a total recount of votes cast in the parliamentary elections in Aruu North County following an application filed by Kidega Nabinson James, the National Resistance Movement – NRM party candidate for the Aruu North County parliamentary seat.

Kidega lost to Lucy Achiro Otim, an independent candidate in the race that attracted five candidates. Achiro emerged winner with a difference of two votes. She polled 8,599 votes against Kidega’s 8,597, according to results released by Pader district returning officer Joseph Amone.

The Electoral Commission has now approved the electoral programme for by-election of Member of Parliament for Aruu North County, with the following key dates:

a. Banning of fundraising activities in Aruu North County
During this by-election programme, no fundraising activities shall be allowed in Aruu North County. This is to allow a leveled-ground for all candidates in the race, and those found to be contravening the law shall be dealt with accordingly.

b. Stakeholders Meeting: 24th February 2017
The Electoral Commission will hold a stakeholders meeting on Friday 24th February 2017 at Pader District Headquarters. This stakeholders meeting will involve District leaders, representatives of political parties and organisations, representatives of civil society organisations, security officials, religious leaders, opinion leaders, sub county supervisors and members of the press.

c. Update of the Voters’ Register
Aruu North County currently has a total number of 41,301 registered voters and 95 polling stations. An update of the Voters’ Register will be conducted from 22nd – 27th February 2017 at update stations within each parish in Aruu County, starting at 8:00am till 6:00pm, on each of the appointed dates, including weekends.

This exercise will enable Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above, who either reside or originate in parishes within the above County, and who have not had their photographs and bio-data taken before by the Electoral Commission for purposes of registration for elections, to do so.

All registered voters who wish to transfer to new voting locations shall be able to do so during this exercise. The cut-off date for registration and/or transfer of voting location shall be 27th February 2017.

d. Display of the Voters’ Register
The Electoral Commission has appointed 9th – 20th March 2017 as the period for display of the National Voters’ Register in the above Constituency. The display of the Voters’ Register shall begin at 8:00am and end at 6:00pm at all polling stations on each of the appointed dates, including weekends.

During the display, voters are urged to turn up in large numbers and
• Check for the correctness of their particulars, and
• Confirm that photographs appear against correct particulars.

Voters are further urged to report to the display officer:
• The dead,
• The non-citizens,
• The under-aged, and,
• Those who belong to another parish, so that they are removed from the Register.

There will be a display of lists of persons recommended for deletion from the Register for a period of seven (7) days, from 22nd – 27th March 2017, at the parish headquarters.

The purpose of this supplementary display is to enable any person who may have been wrongly recommended for deletion to raise an objection to the parish tribunal. The Parish Tribunal may reinstate the person if convinced of genuineness of the objection.

e. Nomination of Candidates, Inspection of nomination papers, Campaigns & Polling
The nomination of candidates shall be conducted on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th March 2017, at the Office of the District Returning Officer, Pader.

The nomination will be followed by a period of six (6) days, that is, from 9th – 14th March 2017, during which members of the general public will have access to the candidates’ nomination papers, and will be able to lodge complaints, if any, on suitability of the candidates to contest in the by-election.

Campaign meetings shall be held for a period of twenty (20) days, that is, from 13th March until 3rd April 2017. The campaign meetings/rallies shall be conducted only within the stipulated time, that is, from 7:00am until 6:00pm on each of the campaign days.

All candidates are urged to observe law and order during this exercise and to conduct their campaign meetings in accordance with the harmonized programme. Hate language will not be tolerated at all.

Polling shall take place on Thursday 6th April 2017 at all polling stations in Aruu North County.

Polling shall start at 7:00am and close at 4:00pm at all polling stations.
f. Compliance with the Law
All aspiring candidates and stakeholders are advised to acquaint themselves with the relevant laws to appreciate their respective roles and responsibilities before, during and after the by-election.

g. Accreditation of Election Observers
Section 16 (1) (a) of the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Act, provides for accreditation of representatives of political parties, civil society organisations and any other duly registered institution, to observe electoral activities.

For purposes of transparency, the Electoral Commission shall accredit observers to the various activities which will be undertaken during this electoral process. Accordingly the Commission invites written expressions of interest from political parties, individuals and duly registered organisations and institutions who wish to observe the said processes.