In his appeal, Ssekabira said the decision to eject him from the polls was biased and high handed, since it wasn’t based on evidence from a medical report. He also argued that he was never given chance to file his defense.
High Court has
upheld the disqualification of Herbert Ssekabira, the National
Resistance Movement-NRM party candidate from the Luwero District Male Persons with
Disability-Pwds councilor’s race by the Electoral Commission. Justice Esta Nambayo delivered her ruling
this morning leaving Ssekabira’s rival Suuna Mulema unopposed.
ran to court after the Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama
ejected him from the race on December 28th, 2020 on grounds that he
had failed to prove substantially that he has a disability in as far as the
Persons with Disabilities Act of 2019 is concerned.
directed the Luwero District Returning Officer to declare unopposed since he
was the only remaining candidate in the race. Ssekabira’s trouble started
from a complaint by the Legal Disability Rights Advocacy, a non-governmental
organization saying he didn’t have any hearing disabilities and therefore lacks
the capacity to represent their interests.
Ssekabira appealed against the
Electoral Commission's decision in the High Court. In his
appeal, Ssekabira said the decision to eject him from the polls was biased and
high handed, since it wasn’t based on evidence from a medical report. He also
argued that he was never given chance to file his defense.
However, during the hearing, Electoral
Commission lawyers led by Dr. Jennifer Angago and Gilda Katutu opposed the
application, saying it was incompetent and barred in law. They argued
that once a candidate has been declared unopposed, it means that the electoral
process has ended at that stage.
also argued that considering the rules under the Electoral Commission Act, the High
Court lacked jurisdictions to entertain the appeal, adding that it should been filed
before the Chief Magistrate’s Court.
ruling, Justice Nambayo concurred with EC saying Ssekabira assumed that the
Returning Officer had not yet declared Mulema unopposed.
She said Ssekabira had
the burden to prove that the Returning Officer has not yet declared his rival
unopposed as directed by the EC Chairperson, which he failed to do. "My
finding is that the appellant/Ssekabira has failed to discharge his burden of
proof. Therefore I'm left with no option but to find that Mulema is unopposed
and that the respondent/Electoral Commission had since ceased to have
jurisdictions over this matter,” said Nambayo.
She advised Ssekabira to
file the matter in the Luwero Chief Magistrates Court should any other
grievance arise from the case. Ssekabira's lawyer Yafesi Ochieng told URN that they are dissatisfied with the
ruling and will consult their lawyer on the way forward.