NRM lawyers Meet AG over Polls Suspension

NRM lawyers on Sunday held a closed-door meeting with the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, to discuss the possibility of postponing local government elections.

Sources close to the ruling party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting at State House Entebbe said that the NRM legal team’s meeting with Byaruhanga was prompted by a proposal by Hajji Moses Kigongo, the party’s first National Vice Chairman, suggesting that the 2021 elections be limited to presidential and parliamentary polls.

The CEC meeting opened on Saturday and is scheduled to end on Tuesday.

In his proposal, Kigongo wants elections for local government leaders to be indefinitely called off until such a time when the will be declared free of Covid-19.

This reportedly elicited a heated debate especially from the legal minds within CEC who based their minds on the provisions of Article 61 of the Constitution which mandates the Electoral Commission to organize regular free and fair elections, and Article 67 which requires the EC to ensure that elections are held at times fixed and notified in advance to the public.

“Given the arguments that came up, CEC tasked the legal team led by Oscar Kihika to consult with the Attorney General and report back [on Monday] so that a decision is taken by Tuesday,” a source said.

Understandably, the NRM honchos are following with keen interest a petition by journalist, Joseph Kabuleta challenging the manner under which the campaigns are to be conducted. In an application he filed on June 19 at the Civil Division of High Court, Kabuleta, through his lawyers led by Daniel Walyemera asked the court to quash the said revised roadmap on grounds that it is not fair in a free and democratic society like Uganda.

He also contends that the said guidelines are illegal and contravene the Parliamentary, Presidential, and Electoral Commission Acts which provide for open-air rallies that can be attended by all willing voters and pave way for consultation. He contends that by banning open-air campaigns, the commission is unjustifiably restricting freedom of speech and imposing unconstitutional limitations on the public.

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