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Attorney General frustrating LC Polls Petition, FHRI :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Attorney General frustrating LC Polls Petition, FHRI

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The petition was filed by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative FHRI and Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda on 31 October 2017. They argue that sections of the law that provide for lining up behind a nominated candidate, their representative, portraits or a symbol contravene the constituti
Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana, the Executive Director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative.

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A petition challenging the option of lining up behind candidate during local council elections remains unheard, with few day  to the polls.  

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) and Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda on 31 October 2017 filed the petition at the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of the voting procedure adopted by parliament.

They argue that sections of the law that provide for lining up behind a nominated candidate, their representative, portraits or a symbol contravene the constitution.

The petitioners  sought orders of the Court to order that any actions conducted under the impugned provisions of the Local Government (Amendment) Act, 2015 are void and of no legal effect.

The elections for local council leaders are due on July 10, according to a road map released by the Electoral Commission.FHRI Executive Director, Dr Livingstone Sewanyanan  told Uganda Radio Network that the Attorney General, who is the respondent  alongside the Electoral Commission, has been frustrating the petition and has twice not attended pre-conferencing sessions.

Court pre-conferencing is aimed at agreeing on issues for adjudication by parties involved in the petition.

Sewanyana said that at the last convened pre-conferencing session was called on June 27. The Deputy Registrar,  Esther Nambayo directed FHRI's legal team led by lawyer Wandera Ogalo to file written submissions to Court on which the Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo will base to give directions.

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"We are aware that preparations for the Local Council elections are in high gear and we are not principally opposed to having the Local Council elections because we also believe that grassroots democracy is important. But we are opposed to the mode of election," Sewanyana said.

Sewanyana argues that the idea of lining up behind is not consistent with any human rights principles on the ground that it is discriminative, divisive and a breeding ground for conflict.

He says that in their Constitutional Petition, they have adduced evidence through memoranda signed by over 100,000 people from across the country who say that they feel very uncomfortable lining up behind candidates.

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He further said that the mode of electing by lining up is not only inconsistent with Article 68 (1) of the Constitution that requires voting by secret ballot but it is ill-conceived.

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The Electoral Commission (EC) Spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa could not readily provide a response for EC's failure to show up in Court for pre-conferencing. He requested for more time to carry out consultations about the matter before giving an official response.

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