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Kabuleta petitions court to block 'scientific' elections

By Michael Odeng and Barbra Kabahumuza

Added 20th June 2020 08:58 AM

Kabuleta petitions court to block 'scientific' elections

Kabuleta, and his lawyers Daniel Walyemera (C), Herbert Arinda (R) at court on Friday. Photo by Michael Odeng

2021 ELECTIONS|

A concerned citizen has petitioned the court, seeking to block Electoral Commission's (EC) "scientific" election campaigns for the 2021 general election, alleging illegalities.

On Tuesday, EC announced that there would be no campaign rallies and that all candidates in the forthcoming polls would canvass for votes through the media, in what it termed as a "scientific general elections".

According to the EC chairperson Simon Byabakama, the ban on rallies is informed by the existing measures against gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Uganda had confirmed 741 COVID-19 cases by Friday.

However, in a suit filed at the Civil Division of the High Court on Friday, Joseph Kabuleta wants the court to quash EC guidelines, arguing that it is unfair, arbitrary, highhanded, illegal irrational and not sanctioned by any known law of a free and democratic society.

"Unless restrained by the court, there is an imminent threat of EC infringing on citizens' rights to participate in public affairs through freedom of expression of their ideas, the right to vote and the functions of parliament which are fundamental principles of a democratic society and rule of law," he contends.

Kabuleta argues that the impugned guidelines are in breach of several constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the right to be heard. He also argues that it infringes on the right to transparent, free and fair elections.

He contends that the guidelines interfere with the freedom and independence of the aspiring candidates from carrying out public campaign meetings as provided for under the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005.

"This is an infringement on the right to take part in a free and fair election, which are fundamental tenets of any democratic society as enshrined in articles of the Constitution," Kabuleta states.

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