Lawyers polls flop over sole candidates

Kampala- Lawyers were forced to cancel their general elections after a section of them protested the move to, among other things, have the chairperson and deputy endorsed unopposed.

According to sources that attended the tense closed-door deliberations at the weekend, the battle lines were drawn between junior lawyers and the senior ones, who subscribe to the Uganda Law Society (ULS).

Sources accuse the returning officer, Mr Mathias Ssekatawa of fronting without opposition Mr Ernest Kalibbala for president and Mr Hussein Rugaba Kashillingi for vice president, Mr Ahmed Kalule for secretary and Ms Juanita Bushara for treasurer.

The lawyers accused their colleagues of creating a situation that would not allow other interested lawyers to contest against the ‘anointed’ ones.

It was rumoured that the same candidates had been declared winners last week and that Saturday’s elections were for mere declaration and not elections.

The elections were supposed to end Ms Ruth Sebatindira’s two-year term as ULS president.

Speaking to Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Asuman Basalirwa, one of those who opposed the sole candidature, said: “You don’t turn the law society into Kyankwanzi sort of thing here. This is not even imaginable of lawyers who are supposed to be the incubators of democracy and gate keepers of human rights.”

“These are values that we must stand for, practice and live with and if it’s not happening with the law society, where else can it be done?” Mr Basalirwa asked.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who also attended the closed-door annual general meeting, condemned what he called the manipulation of the election regulations.

Elections postponed
“The whole process was riddled with complex legal and political issues and I guided them to postpone the elections to extricate ourselves out…The Sebatindira government was… extended for six months,” he said.

However, in a telephone interview yesterday, Ms Sebatindira said the elections were open to all eligible candidates, adding that some candidates, who failed to meet certain requirements, were knocked out leaving only sole candidates passing unopposed.

“We were ready to vote, we had ballot papers to that effect and this was not a declaration as some people thought,” she said.

According to Ms Sebatindira, some requirements include having been a practicing aocate for more than 10 years and not having any pending disciplinary matter at the Law Council.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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