According to Rwakoojo, the Commission is mindful of the health of all citizens amidst the prevailing pandemic and as such, they made consultations and got expert guidance from the Health Ministry to conduct virtual campaigns so as to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Electoral Commission-EC has asked High Court to
dismiss an application filed by Joseph Kabuleta seeking to block digital
elections citing abuse of court process. Last month, EC released a
revised roadmap for the 2021 general elections in which, it introduced virtual
campaigns as opposed to mass political rallies.
The EC Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama,
said the decision was meant to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. This prompted Kabuleta, who has declared his
intentions to contest for presidency to write to the Commission giving them two
days to conduct a meeting with key stakeholders like political parties regarding
the most appropriate ways of conducting elections during the pandemic.
However, the Commission didn’t heed to his request. As a result,
Kabuleta petitioned court to quash the revised roadmap through his lawyers led by Daniel Walyemera. Kabuleta argued that EC is
trying to prevent the public from participating in free and fair elections by
unjustifiably restricting freedom of speech and imposing unconstitutional
limitations on the public.
He also argued that the said
guidelines are illegal and contravene several electoral laws in the country
such as the Parliamentary, Presidential and Electoral Commission Acts, which
provide for open rallies. However, on Monday afternoon, EC lawyers led by Ntambirweki
Kandeebe told Justice Esta Nambayo that the application was wrongly filed
before High Court.
They argued that the applicant didn’t exhaust the existing
remedies provided for under the law. They presented an affidavit sworn by the
Electoral Commission Secretary, Sam Rwakoojo who contends that Kabuleta should
have first gone to their seven-member committee, raised his grievances and only
run to court after failing to get justice.
According to Rwakoojo, the
Commission is mindful of the health of all citizens amidst the prevailing
pandemic and as such, they made consultations and got expert guidance from the Health
Ministry to conduct virtual campaigns so as to stop the spread of the Covid-19
The Commission also told High Court Judge that its
revised road map is reasonable in the circumstances and is not intended to
interfere with freedom and independence of aspiring candidates as Kabuleta
alleges. They further state that the allegations by Kabuleta that
citizens of Uganda have no proper access to media, television and internet are
"I know that there are regulatory agencies
in Uganda made to monitor and license the media and promote access to public
media. I know that access to mass media is a continuous growth process that
keeps changing with advancement of Technology all the time", said Rwakoojo.
Kandeebe says they want court to dismiss the
//Cue in: “Kati byetugenda kuteka..
Cue out: …nga'kuminanya August".//
Justice Nambayo has fixed August
14 2020 to deliver her decision on the matter.