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Lawyer sues EC for locking out citizens from National Voters Register

FILE PHOTO: Voter registration exercise ended last year.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lawyer Gloria Linda Nagami has sued the Electoral Commission for blocking more than one million citizens from participating in the electoral process.

Nagami, 25 has filed her application before the High Court Civil Division with the help of public interest lawyers of Pace Advocates.

She is seeking a declaration that the Electoral Commission’s conduct of closing the exercise of updating the National Voters Register one year before the general elections amounts to disfranchisement of the persons who have attained 18 years of age between December 2019 and 2020.

Last year, the Electoral Commission announced the updating of the National Voter’s Register that started on November 21 to December 11 throughout the entire country.

But the exercise was extended twice on grounds of the weather conditions at the time and allowing those who hadn’t met the deadline to also participate in the exercise.

The exercise closed on December 23 and was followed by the display of the National Voters’ Register which also ended on March 10, 2020.

The display exercise was meant to enable voters to check for the correctness of their particulars on the register and to raise objections as to their inclusion or removal from the register.

However, Nagami contends that since then, 972,400 Ugandans have turned 18 years of age in 2020 and will be disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections.

Nagami is relying on a report released early this year by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics dubbed Population Projections of Uganda, 2015-2030 where it indicated that about 4.98 million people were aged between 15 and 19 years.

The Electoral Commission had also projected to have 19.4 million voters for the 2021 general elections but the Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama recently told journalists that they had 17.7 million registered voters for 2021 elections.

Nagami through her lawyers led by George Musisi contends that they first wrote to the Commission to extend the period of updating the National Voters’ Register in vain.

They now state that the conduct of Electoral Commission depriving them the said right is illegal and infringes on their fundamental rights and is in violation of several laws that provide that every citizen above 18 years of age is legible to participate in elections.

They want the court to order Electoral Commission to immediately take all the necessary steps to ensure that the citizens affected by its conduct can register and exercise their right to vote in the coming and subsequent general elections.

The Electoral Commission lawyer Hamidu Lugoloobi says that they are yet to be served with Nagami’s application.



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