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Prisoners, Ugandans in Diaspora to Vote in 2026 :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Prisoners, Ugandans in Diaspora to Vote in 2026

They will also put in place the necessary structures to aid the registration of legible citizens and prisoners to vote and that court shall be the one to determine the issue of costs.
Electoral Commission Lawyer Hamid Lugolobi Talking to the Applicant Steven Kalali

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Ugandans in the diaspora and the prisoners will be able to participate in the 2026 general elections but not in 2021 as had been earlier ordered by the High Court.  

This is according to the consent order signed by the Electoral Commission lawyers led by Hamidu Lugoloobi and the respondent Steven Kalali's lawyers including Deogratius Odokel and Geoffrey Mutyaba.

According to the consent order signed on Monday afternoon, the Electoral Commission shall take all the necessary steps to ensure that the said categories of people participate in the elections. The Commission will also move the necessary offices to make amendments in the electoral laws to enable the said categories of people to participate in the 2026 general elections.

They will also put in place the necessary structures to aid the registration of legible citizens and prisoners to vote and that court shall be the one to determine the issue of costs.

Their consent has been endorsed by Kampala Civil Division Judge Esta Nambayo.    

One of the  Electoral Commission lawyers Hamidu Lugoloobi confirmed to Uganda Radio Network -URN on phone that they  consented and agreed that the commission takes all necessary steps to have the Ugandans in the diaspora and the prisoners participate in the 2026 general elections.

The consent was made after the parties agreed that it is not possible for the electoral commission to register and include the said categories of people in the voting process within the remaining time to the 2021 general elections. 

Last month, the Civil Division Judge Lydia Mugambe directed the Electoral commission to put in place mechanisms to ensure that Ugandans abroad and the prisoners above 18 years can participate in the subsequent elections.

Mugambe made the order on the basis of a petition filed by lawyer Steven Kalali who argued that the exclusion of prisoners and Ugandans in the Diaspora from voting for over 20 years since the constitution was promulgated amounted to discrimination and segregation.

In his petition, Kalali demanded that each of the prisons in Uganda be declared a registration and polling Center ahead of the 2021 general elections of which the Judge agreed with him and accordingly issued orders to that effect.

However, a few days later, the Electoral Commission through its legal team filed an application for review saying that it didn't have funds to comply with the court order.

The Commission added that they had also closed the National Voters Register and right now they have limited time towards the elections alongside the challenges of COVID-19 lockdown which cannot make them comply effectively with the court orders. It is against this background that the consent order has been made.

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