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I was in a toilet! Tanga Odoi sends court into laughter

By Moses Nampala

Added 9th June 2016 06:02 PM

Odoi was asked his whereabouts at around 5 o’clock, on polling day

I was in a toilet! Tanga Odoi sends court into laughter

Prof Tanga Odoi.

Odoi was asked his whereabouts at around 5 o’clock, on polling day

National Resistance Movement (NRM) electoral commission chairperson Dr. Tanga Odoi testified in the Mbale High Court during hearing of an election petition filed against Tororo District Woman Member of Parliament Sarah Opendi Achieng.

Appearing before Lady Justice Magaret Oguli Oumo, Odoi admitted that he swore an affidavit in support of the petition.

"My lord its true I'm among the 53 witnesses that swore an affidavit in support of the petition," he told court during cross examination.

At the beginning of hearing lawyers representing respondents Opendi and the Electoral Commission (EC) insisted that Odoi be cross examined.

"We want to know why he deeply got involved in Tororo District Woman Member of Parliament elections," Rajab Arinaitwe one of the lawyers representing Opendi stressed at the beginning of the hearing.

Jacinta Ayo (NRM) also runner up in the race dragged Opendi and EC to court, on among other grounds, conspiring to deny her victory.

"Contrary to provision of Section 78 of the Parliamentary Act, the Tororo District Returning officer in connivance with Sarah Opendi Achieng (first respondent), wilfully omitted to include in the final tally 1,705 votes that had been obtained by the petitioner," stated the petition.

Responding to a query from the lawyers why he got deeply involved Odoi told court that his involvement in the Tororo District elections was not by mistake.

"On the eve of the elections, I was appointed by President Yoweri Museveni who is also the NRM party chairperson to supervise Bukedi region," explained Odoi.

Bukedi region constitutes districts of Tororo, Busia, Butaleja Kibuuku, Budaka, and Budaka.

"Among other roles I was directed to do by the President was to keep a keen eye on NRM party flag bearers that vied for the parliamentary seats in the region," said Odoi who attached a copy of his appointment letter from the President to his affidavit.

He explained that among other roles expected of him was to make a formal brief to the President on the performance of all party flag bearers immediately after the February 18 polls.

"The petitioner (Jacinta Ayo) like many other NRM party flag bearers in the region was a subject of my interest in respect of my appointment," stressed Odoi.

There was drama during the cross examination when counsel Arinaitwe insisted to know to know where Tanga Odoi was at around 5 o'clock, on polling day.

"I was in the toilet, somewhere in Busia," Odoi responded sending court to raucous bout of laughter.

He regretted that there was an unusual delay in announcing the final results of the Tororo District Woman Member of Parliament.

"The returning officer officially announced the Tororo District Woman Parliamentary elections on February 20th 2016, almost 3 days later," he stressed.

The elections that attracted a total of 6 candidates were won by Opendi who rode on an independent ticket with 62,215 votes against runner up Jacinta Ayo (NRM) who garnered 59,806.

Court has asked lawyers for all the parties in the matter to make their final submissions on June 20, 2016. 

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