Election Watch

Erias Lukwago drags EC to court over ban on campaigns in Kampala

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has petitioned High Court seeking to quash the recent directive issued by the Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama banning election campaigns in Kampala and other districts identified as Covid-19 hotspots.

Lukwago, in the application filed in a category of Political Head of Kampala, Candidates in Kampala District and as a concerned citizen, contends that this directive is unconstitutional because it was just issued in a press statement without any legal provisions backing it up as required by law.

He has, therefore, issued a number of orders and declarations against the directive.

Among them is: “A declaration that the decision of the respondent contained in a press statement dated 26th December 2020 wherein the Respondent indefinitely suspended election campaign meetings in Kampala Capital City and some districts was illegal, irrational and ultra vires the right to associate and freedom to assemble.”

He has asked for an injunctive order restraining, stopping or preventing the respondent from suspending electoral campaign meetings in Kampala city Center.

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“A declaration that the applicant was not accorded the right to fair hearing and treatment in the process leading to decision of the respondent contained in the press statement dated 26th December 2020 where in the Respondent indefinitely suspended election campaign meetings in city center and other districts,” the petition further reads.

Lukwago says that these directives will give Police a hard time to put in place the decision because there is no punishment provided for under the penal code regarding a person caught in violation of the said order.

Lukwago, however, agrees that Covid-19 is real and they (candidates and supporters) are willing to abide by the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs ) which were put in place by the Ministry of Health while carrying out the campaigns.

The file for this case has been allocated to Justice Musa Ssekaana and it’s expected to be fixed for hearing any time from now.

On 26th December 2020, the Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama suspended campaigns in 12 districts which the Ministry of Health highlighted as the ones with the higher risks of spreading Covid-19.

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The districts include Kampala, Mbarara, Kabarole, Luweero, Kasese, Kalungu, Tororo, Masaka, Wakiso , Jinja, Kazo and Mukono

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