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Covid-19 vaccine: CSOs petition court challenging national ID requirement

Eron Kiiza, the lead lawyer of the applicants. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Two civil society organizations have petitioned the High Court in Kampala seeking to restrain the government from excluding people without national identification cards from the COVID-19 vaccination.

The two organizations are; Initiative for Social Economic Rights-ISER and Unwanted Witness who have filed their case before the Civil Division of High Court.

The duo through their lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha Company Advocates are challenging the March 2, 2021, decision of the government made through the health ministry in a press statement.

On March 2, the Minister for Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that Ugandans without National Identification Numbers (NIN) or National IDs will not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The applicants contend that it jeopardizes and infringes the fundamental rights and freedoms of the excluded Ugandans to health dignity, health, fair administrative treatment and discrimination.

In their evidence before the court, the applicants state that several Ugandans have other alternative documents that can identify them such as voter’s cards and driving permits therefore they can use such since they are also genuinely authored by the government of Uganda.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, at least 16.8 million Ugandans do not have national identification cards.

Allan Sempala Kigozi who is the head of legal at Unwanted Witness states that he knows very well that the access to and replacement of lost national identification cards is already overwhelmed with unnecessary delays and high renewal costs.

“The impugned decision was made without public participation or consulting stakeholders including the applicants adds Kigozi in his affidavit.”

According to the programs manager at ISER, Allana Kembabazi, they also want the court to issue an interim order of injunction restraining the government and its agents especially the health service providers from excluding citizens without IDs from COVID-19 vaccination pending the determination of the main suit which is challenging the legality of the contentious decision.

The case is yet to be allocated to a judge to fix it for hearing.

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