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Man With Torture-caused Hearing Impairment Wants Luwero Elections Stopped

He says having established that the said body is an illegal entity without any legal standing in Uganda, he wonders who the complainant is against him.
22 Jan 2021 20:00
Herbert Ssekabira the petitioner at the Civil Division of High Court in Kampala.

Audio 1

 

A man with hearing disabilities has petitioned High Court in Kampala seeking to block the elections for male district councilors for persons with disabilities in Luwero District. The said elections are supposed to take place on January 27 2021.

But Herbert  Ssekabira wants the court to block the coming elections on grounds that he was illegally denominated from the race by the Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama without according him a right to fair hearing.

 

  On December 28th 2020, Byabakama denominated Ssekabira on grounds that he had failed to prove substantially that he has disabilities in as far as the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2019 is concerned. 

Byabakama also directed the Returning Officer for Luwero District to declare Ssekabira's rival Suuna Mulema elected unopposed since he was the only remaining candidate in the race.

The disqualification of Ssekabira followed a complaint by Legal Disability Rights Advocacy a non-governmental organization which argued that he did not have any hearing disabilities and therefore he didn't have the capacity to represent their interests.

  But in his court documents, Ssekabira contends that he has had hearing disabilities since 2002 after being subjected to torture by operatives attached to Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and to date, his hearing was affected and if he is to hear properly, he has to use hearing aids.

  According to the evidence on court record, on October 10th 2005, Dr Julian Nabatanzi from the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims examined Ssekabira and found that he had sustained profound loss of hearing in the right ear due to torture.   

    But Ssekabira indicates that shortly after being elected the NRM flag bearer in this race, one of the members of National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda- NUDIPU Charles Mabonga wrote a complaint to the union claiming that Ssekabira did not have any disability. 

    Evidence further shows that NUDIPU’s Chairperson Mpindi Bumali, wrote back confirming that indeed Ssekabira is a person with multiple disabilities including hard of hearing.

However, Ssekabira says that on September 21 2020, the Legal Disability Rights Advocacy which he says is a non-existent organization also petitioned the Electoral Commission seeking for his denomination. 

  He says having established that the said body is an illegal entity without any legal standing in Uganda, he wonders who the complainant is against him.

  He said that he was called by the Electoral Commission officials and asked to leave his medical records behind and orally told that they had received a petition against him whose copy he didn't get.

  Following this body’s petition, Ssekabira contends that he consulted his lawyers who wrote to the Commission regarding the petition in issue but the same was ignored. He adds that since December 22nd 2020, when they wrote their second letter regarding their decision, no feedback was given to them.

  But he was reportedly shocked on January 19 2021 when he went to the Commission and found a letter dated December 28th 2020 disqualifying him from the race.  

Ssekabira now says that the actions of the Commission to denominate him were unfair since he provided all the necessary documents to prove that he was disabled but still they didn't consider them.

  He now wants court to declare that the Electoral Commission flouted the rules of natural Justice for having handled an alleged complaint by a non-existing complainant without any due diligence.

//Cue in: “Eyawaba nange simanyi…

Cue out: …atte bandiwilile”.//

  In the alternative, he wants court to set aside the decision by the Electoral Commission and have the elections conducted.

Hearing of the case will be on January 25th 2021 before Lady Justice Esta Nambayo.