Activists led by Norman Tumuhimbise recently petitioned court claiming that lining up behind candidates compromises ballot secrecy and voters’ integrity
Norman Tumuhimbise addressing the media after High Court Judge Henrietta Orayo postponed the hearing of case to December 4. Photo by Ramadhan Abbey
High Court Judge Henrietta Wolayo has deferred the hearing of the case in which a group of activists are challenging lining up behind candidates in the upcoming LC1 polls to December 4.
According to the electoral commission (EC) road map, the LC elections will be conducted on November 21. This means, the application will be heard after the elections.
Activists led by Norman Tumuhimbise recently petitioned court claiming that lining up behind candidates compromises ballot secrecy and voters’ integrity.
Other activists are Hamisi Musoke, Beky Achom, Ann Karuhanga, Bashir Mubiru, Tadeo Kawuki and Nicholas Atuhairwe.
They want court to declare that the act of lining behind the candidates without secret ballots threatens, compromises and infringes upon the fundamental human rights and freedom of Ugandans, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“Under the Constitution and International Laws, Ugandans have a right to political/public participation, right to secret ballot and right to free and fair elections,” they contend in their affidavits.
When asked on whether their application will not be rendered irrelevant, lawyer Eron Kiiza said, “It is not the last time the LC elections will be conducted in the country. The important thing is court to hear our application and give guidelines,”
According to the petitioners, the Government has a duty to observe, respect, uphold, promote and fulfill fundamental human rights and civil liberties of all persons.
The petitioners further aver that lining behind candidates will expose voters to intimidation, undue influence and manipulation.
However, EC legal officer Abubaker Kayondo has described the application as incompetent, misconceived, frivolous, bad in law and that it should be dismissed with costs.
According to Kayondo EC decided voters to line up behind their favorite candidates in the polls because secret ballots need a lot of money which had made it impracticable for them to be held since 2001.
“Owing to the dire need by public to have those elections conducted and the huge cost of organising them under the old legal frame work, Parliament as mandated by the Constitution refined the legal and procedural frame work in which the election could be conducted,” Kayondo said.