Just In: Court orders Electoral Commission to ensure Ugandans of 18 yrs & above in prison, diaspora vote

By KH Mulangira

Court orders Electoral commission (EC) to ensure Ugandans of 18 years in prison & diaspora Vote. Whisper Eye Updates .

Uganda’s High Court Judge Justice Lydia Mugambe has ended the 25 year ban, since the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution, on the voting rights of prisoners and Ugandans in the Diaspora.

Justice Mugambe relied on South African jurisprudence by Justice Sachs to make her judgment in the case filed by lawyer Steven Kabali, Court has ordered that:

First, as citizens, Ugandans of eighteen years and above who are in prison or the diaspora have the right to vote under article 59 of the Constitution.

Secondary the Electoral Commission’s (EC) conduct of depriving them of this right is illegal as it infringes their rights in violation of articles 1, 59 and 21 of the Constitution.

Further more, the EC is accordingly directed to comply with its obligation under article 9 clause 3, to wit, take all necessary steps to ensure that as citizens, they register and exercise their right to vote.

The applicant was represented by Ms Daphne Gunn of Walusimbi & Co Advocates.

Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Legal Brains Trust has welcomed the fundamental High Court ruling.

“This is a timely landmark decision that contributes significantly to the protection of our constitutional democracy.

It has resolved a complaint we had filed with the EC last year,” says counsel Ssemakadde.

Legal Brain Trust is a Kampala-based democracy and human rights watchdog.

The ruling has come after two days when the EC issued a revised road map for 2020/21 general elections in Uganda, with a ban on public rallies due to covid-19 pandemic.