The High Court in Kampala has dismissed a case in which presidential aspirant Joseph Kabuleta was challenging scientific elections and digital campaigns as announced by the Electoral Commission.
Kabuleta through his lawyers led by David Walyemera had asked court to quash the revised 2021 election roadmap arguing that it is not fair in a free and democratic society like Uganda.
On Friday, the court ruled that case cannot stand and consequently threw it out.
“This court cannot make declarations on guidelines that are not yet in place. It is clear that the commission(EC) by the time of the press release had not yet issued the guidelines. The guidelines were to be issued in due course and the commission was to engage with the stakeholders before issuing the guidelines,” Judge Esta Nambayo ruled.
Kabuleta, a former journalist turned evangelist, had told court that the revised roadmap is illegal and contravenes the Parliamentary, Presidential and Electoral Commission Acts which provide for open-air rallies that can be attended by all willing voters and pave way for consultations.
He said that by banning open-air campaigns, the Electoral Commission is restricting freedom of speech and imposing unconstitutional limitations on the public.
In defence, the Electoral Commission told court that the roadmap has got specific segments which by law require statutory instruments, guidelines or notices to be published in the gazette each at an appropriate time.
Giving her ruling, Justice Nambayo reasoned with the Electoral Commission saying that guidelines on how to conduct the forthcoming election were to be released in the due course, prior to Kabuleta’s petition, adding that she could not give orders basing on a mere press release.
“It is clear that the detailed information is to be provided by the respondent (EC) to stakeholders, including information on the conduct of campaigns and the polling process before coming up with the guidelines,” the judge said.
The judge ruled that Kabuleta ought to have first filed a complaint regarding the scientific elections with the Electoral Commission before running to the High Court.
“It would be improper for this court to make declarations on guidelines which are not in existence.”