On 1st August 2022, nomination for candidates to contest in the Gogonyo County by-election commenced and successfully concluded the following day, promising a good race.
At the end of the nomination exercise, Daniel Othieno, the Returning Officer, Pallisa District declared Okoboi Joseph Opolot (NUP), Bantalib Issa Taligola (Independent) and Derrick Orone (NRM) as the candidates in the race.
But today, as the voters queue up to vote, Taligola and Opolot quit the race in favour of the NRM candidate. While Taligola communicated his bowing out of the race to the Electoral Commission (EC), Opolot hadn’t.
A visually impaired voter guided through the voting process at Akum PRM Church polling station, Gogonyo County Constituency.
Two candidates are contesting for the area MP seat after the third Candidate,Bantalib Issa Taligola withdrew his candidacy.@PaulBukenya#GogonyoByElection pic.twitter.com/H2oWhmqtfK
— Electoral Commission- Uganda (@UgandaEC) August 11, 2022
A day before the race, the Electoral Commission communicated to the voters in Gogonyo that Taligola had quit the race and that while he appears on the ballot paper, any vote cast in his favour would be considered invalid.
“The Electoral Commission informs voters in Gogonyo County that Taligola is no longer a candidate in the by-election. Any vote cast for him will be invalid. A notice of withdrawal of candidature will be posted at each polling station to warn voters against casting vote for former candidate Taligola,” the EC said.
The EC confirmed that Opolot was still in the race despite his pronouncements that he had quit NUP, the party that got him nominated and returned to NRM. He had also said that he had quit the race – however, according to the EC, one can only quit the race in writing. Opolot didn’t do so.
Voting in Gogonyo is taking place at sixty-two polling stations in the constituency; it is expected to close at 4:00 pm for the tallying of cast votes to commence.
The EC commissioner Stephen Tashobya called upon all stakeholders in the Gogonyo by-election to refrain from operating beyond their designated limits.