Authorities at the Uganda Prisons Service have welcomed yesterday’s High Court ruling allowing prison inmates to take part in the election of leaders starting with the 2021 General Election.
In a suit institued in 2018 by a Ugandan, Mr Steven Kalali, the applicant sought that court allows among others, prisoners aged 18 and over and Ugandans living in the diaspora that are eligible to vote.
Passing judgement in his favour and against the Attorney General and the Electoral Commission, High Court Judge Lady Justice Lydia Mugambe ruled that all Ugandan 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 of the Republic of Uganda.
Justice Mugambe consequently directed the Electoral Commission to comply with its obligation under Art. 59 (3) and take all necessary steps to ensure that as citizens, they register and exercise their right to vote.
Prisons spokesperson Frank Baine has welcomed the ruling, saying that the Prisons has always been ready for such a development and that it has been long overdue. He says as long as the enabling laws are put in place and necessary pre-conditions met, they are ready to comply.
“We have always been ready. The only problem is some of the inmates do not have national IDs because they were never registered and others are not in their rightful constituencies. This is a court ruling and it has to be accompanied by an enabling law so we wait for Parliament and the Electoral Commission to take the lead and we shall comply”, Mr Baine said.