The High Court in Kampala has ruled that all Ugandans citizens aged 18 years and above who are in prison or in the diaspora have the right to vote under Article 59 of the Constitution.
The order has been issued by Justice Lydia Mugambe following a successful application filed by city lawyer Steven Kabali challenging the denial of prisoners the right to participate in national elections.
Kalali dragged the Attorney General and Electoral Commission to court seeking orders compelling the government to register prisoners and Ugandans in the diaspora so they can take part in national elections.
He argued that since 1995 when the constitution was promulgated, the government has conducted five Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in total exclusion of the prisoners and Ugandans in the diaspora of 18 years and above.
He added that even when one has been convicted, remanded or is living in diaspora it does not disqualify a citizen who is of maturity age from voting.
Kalali wanted Court to declare that the exclusion of prisoners from the voter’s registration exercise is illegal and a violation of their fundamental rights to be registered as voters and to vote in the forthcoming elections and subsequent elections and referendum.
Now Justice Mugambe has ruled that Electoral Commission’s conduct of depriving prisoners and people in diaspora this right is illegal as it infringes their rights in violation of articles 1, 59 and 21 of the Constitution.
She has accordingly directed EC 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.