NRM's Ariko declared winner of Soroti by-election

Ariko (C) after being declared winner

Ariko (C) after being declared winner

The ruling National Resistance Movement candidate Herbert Edmund Ariko has been declared the winner of the Soroti East MP by-election amidst vast allegations of electoral malpractice. 

Ariko garnered 9,407 votes against his closest rival of the Forum for Democratic Change Moses Attan Okia 8,771 votes. The Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) candidate, Pascal Amuriat got 115 votes.

Ariko was declared the winner at around 10 pm by the Soroti City returning officer, Christine Eyuu. Last month, the Court of Appeal nullified the election of Attan after Ariko contested the results on grounds that his strongholds; Aloet and Opiyai wards were erroneously annexed to the Soroti West, which he noted disfranchised more than 5,000 voters. 

Yesterday's polls were characterized by violence and reports of ballot stuffing, especially at Omalera, Otatai and Owolo Polling Stations. 

Voting was also halted for more than two hours in Omalera B and Owalei polling stations after residents protested the exercise over ballot stuffing.

In Omalera B polling station, where 42 voters had cast their votes, the agents and electoral officers discovered more than 200 ballot papers stuffed in the ballot box in favour of the NRM candidate Herbert Edmund Ariko.

Justice Simon Byabakama, the Electoral Commission Chairperson asked the police to investigate the cases of violence that were reported at various polling stations. Soroti East Constituency has 63 polling stations spread over 13 wards.    

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd