The Uganda Law Society (ULS) the umbrella association for legal practitioners in the country, has petitioned the High Court Civil Division seeking permission to conduct virtual elections.
ULS President Simon Peter Kinobe says that the on going restrictions put in place by the government made it impossible for the lawyers to conduct their Annual General Meeting, through which they also elect new leaders.
With public gatherings out of the picture, Kinobe says it is practically impossible to bring members together in one meeting for the elections. But he also states that the current Uganda Law Society Act does not provide for scientific or hybrid meetings and elections.
Kinobe’s term of office expired in April 2020 but he says that if permitted, the elections will still be done with a limited number of people at a given time. He says they will set up a variety of election centres across the country and maintain physical distancing, as one wayof avoiding the spread of COVID-19.
On June 24 2020, Uganda Law Society wrote to the Prime Minister seeking permission to be guided on how they can conduct their elections. However, to date, they have not received any response or guidance to that effect.
“The Uganda Law Society convening an Annual General Meeting and an election is of great importance to its membership and the Public and touches the very core of our constitutionality, rule of law and good governance which require urgent redress by this honourable court”, reads the application in part.
The application comes 10-days after a section of members petitioned the General Secretary of the Uganda Law Society demanding for the said elections on grounds that they have been silent on the same yet several organizations listed on the stock exchange have successfully implemented digital or physical meetings while ensuring that they follow standard operating procedures by Government.
The General Secretary of Uganda Law Society lawyer Francis Harimwomugasho has justified the decision of petitioning court as one which will be neutral because more than 3000 members of ULS had failed to agree on how to conduct the elections.