Court issues orders as parties in journalists’ poll case agree on issues

The Civil Division of the  High Court  in Kampala has issued an order maintaining the temporary injunction on the activities of the Uganda Journalists Association( UJA) concerning the forthcoming elections until the main case is disposed of.

The same court on the other side allowed the journalists body to continue with any activities including the Annual General Meeting, provided nothing concerning election of new leaders handled.

Five journalists including Abubaker Lubowa, Zambaali Blasio Mukasa, Emmanuel Nkata, Hasifu Ssekiwunga and Martin Kimbowa dragged UJA president Mathias Rukundo and Secretary General Emmanuel Kirunda alongside the Uganda Journalists Association for stopping them from participating in the forthcoming election on February, 25.

On Tuesday, when the two parties came for pre-trial conferencing, it was agreed that it is in the interest of justice that the temporary injunction is maintained stopping any activity related to election but gave UJA  a green light to continue with its other activities

In the same vein, Justice Musa Ssekaana, the head of the Civil Division of the High Court set dates for each of the two parties to follow while presenting their written submissions.

The judge directed  that the applicants file their written submissions by March , 15 whereas the respondents file their reply by March 23.


Meanwhile, the two parties agreed on four issues that will need court’s determination in the case.

The parties agreed that the court will be required to determine whether there are issues that need judicial review in this case.

The parties also agreed that court will determine whether the five journalists(applicants) have a locus standi to bring the matter to court.

The High Court will also be required to determine whether the actions by UJA, its president Mathias Rukundo and Secretary General, Emmanuel Kirunda committed irregularities, were biased and violated the association constitution in their actions to kick the five journalists out of the race.

The court will also determine whether there are remedies for the problems raised by the five journalists.

Justice Musa Ssekaana adjourned the case to April, 13 for mention.

The case

The  five petitioners through their lawyer, George Musisi of PACE Advocates ran to court challenging what they termed as irregularities, bias and violation of the UJA constitution when they were kicked out of the forthcoming elections for the journalists body.

They aver that the decision by  the three respondents to stop and eject them from participating in the forthcoming election as candidates is illegal and an abuse of their powers.

“The process leading to the decision or directive and the decision itself of  the respondents communicated to the applicants on February, 3, 2023 barring, stopping, eliminating, and ejecting the applicants from standing for elective  positions in the first respondent association is illegal, ultravires, irrational, unreasonable, unfair and an abuse of the respondent’s powers,” the court documents read in part.

The petitioners aver that there was a conflict of interest and biasness on the side of the organisers of the election since both of them are candidates.

Whereas Rukundo is aspiring to retain the position of president, Kirunda seeks to return as UJA secretary general.

The petitioners say this is illegal since it depicts a conflict of interest on the side of the two UJA leaders.

“The second respondent  is the president and the third respondent is the secretary general  of the said association but are not mandated to organize elections.The actions of the two were biased , unfair and illegal  meant to to deny the applicants chance of fully participating in the electoral as envisaged in the constitution.”

The petitioners say the requirements asked for by UJA and the two other respondents were outside the provisions of the association constitution.

They want court to declare that the process of organizing the UJA election was illegal but also kicking them out of the race was against the constitution.

The group also wants court to issue an order stopping the ongoing election but also for a fresh process which is done under the provisions of the UJA constitution.


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