In effect Chairman Electoral commission Justice Byabakama declared a Defacto State of Emergency hence banning of election campaign meetings in Kampala and some other 11 districts due to the Suring COVID -19 and persistent violations of standard operating procedures by some political candidates.
However, the banning of election campaign meetings has been challenged in the High Court by lord mayor Erias Lukwago on the grounds that it is irrational and illegal. In the lawsuit filed before the High Court today.
Lukwago said he filed the case in his capacity as the political head of Kampala, has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) seeking an order quashing the commission’s decision to suspend election campaign meetings in 12 districts.
The affected 12 districts include Kampala, Wakiso, Mbarara, Kabarole, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Tororo, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka and Mukono.Mr Lukwago is seeking a declaration that the decision of EC contained in a press statement dated December 26 suspending election campaign meetings was illegal, irrational, and constitutes an egregious affront to his right to associate and interface with the electorate and the entire citizenry which is a cornerstone of a free and fair election.
Mr Lukwago is also seeking a declaration that EC’s decision amounts to a deprivation and violation of candidates’ rights to disseminate ideas, political platforms or agenda to the electorate which is a vital tenet of electoral democracy.
”A declaration that the applicant (Lukwago) was not accorded the right to a fair hearing and treatment in the process leading to the decision of the respondent (EC) contained in a press statement dated December 26,” reads in part the court documents.
In his affidavit to support his case, Mr Lukwago states that he was duly nominated on September 30, to contest for the position of the Lord Mayor for Kampala Capital City Authority thus presenting his campaign programme to EC for reconciliation with other candidates’ programmes and approval.
”I know that during the month of March 2020, Uganda registered its first case of Covid-19 whereupon the government imposed a lockdown restricting public activities, but the President Yoweri Museveni insisted that the situation was not so grave to warrant a declaration of a state of emergency under Article 110 of the Constitution,” Mr Lukwago states. Advertisement
Erias Lukwago while filing case against EC at High court today.
” I am aware that during the month of June 2020, Government took steps of easing the lockdown and instituted standard operating procedures intended to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 and accordingly several public activities were reactivated,” he added.
Court documents indicate that ever since the reactivation, Mr Lukwago launched his campaigns on November 11 to date under strict observance of the standard operating procedures and guidelines issued by the EC while encouraging the electorate to wear face masks, use sanitisers and wash their hands.He further states that the impugned, decision has inordinately disrupted his campaign schedules and subjected him to horrendous inconveniences, loss and cost.