The Clerk to Parliament has written to the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Simon Byabakama notifying the electoral body about a vacancy in Serere County.
This follows the death of the area Member of Parliament, Patrick Osabe on 19th, December, 2022.
Section 3 (1) of the Parliamentary Election Act, 2005 provides that whenever a Member of Parliament dies or where the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant, the Clerk to Parliament shall notify the Commission in writing within 10 days after the vacancy has occurred; and a by-election shall be held within 60 days after the vacancy has occurred.
“In accordance with Clause 2 of Article of Article 81 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is hereby notified that a vacancy has occurred in Parliament following the death of Hon. Okabe Patrick, Member of Parliament for Serere County, Serere district which occurred on 19th, December 2022,” reads part of the letter authored by Solomon Kirunda on behalf of the Clerk to Parliament.
In the letter, the Clerk requests the Electoral Commission to organise and conduct a by-election to fill the vacancy so that the people of Serere County can be represented in parliament.
MP Patrick Okabe, died in a motor accident alongside his wife, Christine Okabe on the Mbale-Tirinyi Road. Their death followed a collision between a heavy truck and Okabe’s vehicle.
Last week on Thursday, Parliament paid tribute to the late legislator and he was later buried on Saturday 24th December, buried at his home village in Oburin Cell Ochapa Town Council in Serere district.
At the burial, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa presented to mourners, Emmanuel Omoding, one of the sons to the deceased as his replacement in parliament. Tayebwa, then said that Omoding was willing to carry the mantle.
The development followed appeals by legislators from Teso for voters to replace the late MP with one of his family members.
However, Okabe was an Independent Member of Parliament, a path he took after losing in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party primaries to Phillip Oucor. Oucor later lost to Okabe in the January 2021 general election.
In the past, relatives to deceased MPs have been voted by the electorate as replacements in parliament. The most recent incident is that of Omoro County MP Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, who replaced his father, former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah after his death in March this year.
Also, the Kamuli Municipality MP, Baroda Watongola was elected as a replacement to her mother, the late Rehema Watongola after she succumbed to COVID-19 in 2020. Some of other MPs who have made it to parliament after the death of their relatives are Florence Andiru Nebanda who was elected as Butaleja Woman MP after the death of her sister Cerina Nebanda in 2012, Proscovia Alengot, the former Usuk County MP who was elected after the death of her father Micheal Oromait in 2012 and others.
The Electoral Commission is yet to release program for the Serere County by-election.