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Electoral commission sued for failure to reserve symbols of aspiring party

EC boss Justice Byabakama.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission has been sued fo alleged failure to reserve the name and symbols of National Revolution for the Restoration of Uganda-NARRU, a pressure group that is aspiring to become a mass political party in Uganda.

In the petition filed before the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala, Deusdedit Bwengye who describes himself as the elected President of NARRU, a pressure group based in Mbarara City contends that on September 13th 2021, he applied to the Electoral Commission to reserve the name, slogan, symbols, colors and emblem for NARRU as a mandatory preliminary step towards its registeration as a political party.

The said group uses black, white and red and power to the people as its colors and slogan respectively. It then uses a map of Uganda in a round basket encircled with moving arrows with the word Uganda at the bottom as its symbol.

However, Bwengye notes that after his application on October 5th 2021, the Electoral Commission through its Acting Secretary responded that it could not reserve the name and symbols of NARRU because the name National Revolution for the Restoration of Uganda was similar to that of National Revolution Party and African Restoration Party.

Bwengye who stood as an Independent candidate for Mbarara City North Parliamentary elections and scored 45 votes, says that the Electoral Commission did not reserve the aforementioned features for NARRU and no legal basis was given for failure to do so.

“On October 15th 2021, the applicant responded to the respondent’s refusal by objecting to the refusal on the basis of how it had been reached since it was malicious, mala fide, irrational and without any legal basis and in that response, I requested the respondent to reconsider her egregious decision”, reads the petition in part.

As such, Bwengye says that the decision by the electoral commission is unlawful and irrational saying that no reasonable decision maker would decide that the name National Revolution for the Restoration of Uganda is the same or similar to that of the National Revolution Party and African Restoration Party.

He also adds that the contentious decision has caused him damages and loss because it infringes on his fundamental right to form a political party as guaranteed in the Constitution and the Political Parties and Organizations Act of 2005.

Bwengye now wants court to quash the aforementioned decision and make an order compelling the Commission to immediately reserve both the name and symbols of NARRU.

The head of Litigation at the Electoral Commission Eric Sabiiti has told Uganda Radio Network that they have not yet been served with a copy of Bwengye’s petition to make an appropriate comment.

He however adds that if Bwengye’s issue is to do with party symbol and the name.

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