The Electoral Commission has asked the High Court to throw out a case in which they were dragged to court by former journalist turned evangelist Joseph Kabuleta challenging the ban on open-air campaigns in the run-up to the 2021 general election.
The application is misconceived, frivolous, vexatious, incompetent, untenable at law, a waste of court’s time and ought to be dismissed with costs to the respondent,” the Electoral Commission said in its response through an affidavit sworn by Sam Rwakoojo, the EC secretary.
According to the election body, the case has not shown court that there is reason to justify the grant of the application.
“The application is an abuse of court process on account of the applicant’s failure to exhaust existing remedies available within a public body as required by law.”
The Electoral Commission in their response say that the revised roadmap was issued in accordance with the prevailing pandemic situation or circumstances as they cannot speculate on what the future is likely to be.
According to their reply, the election body explains 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.
“The respondent recognizes the Constitutional right of citizens to vote and choose their leaders as well as the duty to facilitate the exercise. The respondent Is further mindful of the need to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all stakeholders during the electoral process, including campaigns, voting and declaration on results,” the EC avers.
“The allegations of the applicant that citizens of Uganda have no proper access to the media, television, radio and internet are false. There are regulatory agencies in Uganda made to monitor and licence the media and promote access to public media. Access to media is a continuous growth process that keeps changing with the advancement of technology all the time.”
In his case, Kabuleta through his lawyers led by David Walyemera asked court to quash the revised 2021 election roadmap arguing that it is not fair in a free and democratic society like Uganda.
According to the former journalist turned evangelist, 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 avers that by banning open-air campaigns, the Electoral Commission is restricting freedom of speech and imposing unconstitutional limitations on the public.