ROAD to 2021: Court allows prisoners, diaspora community to vote

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Prisoners and warders.High Court has ended the 25 year ban on the voting rights of prisoners and Ugandans in the Diaspora.File Photo

By Joan Tendo

The Uganda High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe has ended the 25 year ban on the voting rights of prisoners and Ugandans in the Diaspora.

The judge has ordered as citizens, Ugandans of eighteen years and above who are in prison or the diaspora have the right to vote under article 59 of the Constitution.

She ruled that he Electoral Commission’s conduct of depriving them of this right is illegal, maintaining that it infringes their rights in violation of articles 1, 59 and 21 of the Constitution.

The EC, she ruled is accordingly directed to comply with its obligation under article 59 clause 3, to wit, take all necessary steps to ensure that as citizens, they register and exercise their right to vote.

This is will be the first time for prisoners and diaspora community members vote since the 1995 promulgation of the constitution.

The judicial review was filed by city lawyer Steven Kalali who was represented by Ms Daphne Gunn of Walusimbi & Co Advocates.

Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, CEO Legal Brains Trust, a Kampala- based democracy and human rights watchdog said lauded court for the timely landmark ruling.

“This is a timely landmark decision that contributes significantly to the protection of our constitutional democracy. It has resolved a complaint we had filed with the EC last year,” he said.

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