High Courts across the country have commenced hearing of election petitions that arose from the January 14, 2021 general elections.
The Courts yesterday, August 16th commenced the handling of 155 Parliamentary and Local Council election petitions in the different High Court circuits across the country. Last week, the Principal Judge, Dr. Flavian Zeija announced that the Judiciary has assigned 32 judges to expedite the handling of these election petitions.
According to the press release from the Judiciary, Mbale High Court Circuit has been assigned the highest number of judges (6), to handle 31 election petitions followed by Jinja Circuit, Civil Division and Luweero High Court with each having 4 judges. Fort Portal High Court will have 3 judges, while Masindi and Masaka High Courts will have 2 judges each. Mpigi, Mbarara, Lira, Kabale, Gulu and Arua will have 1 judge each.
On 3rd August the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo issued a revised contingency measures and guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the hearing of election petitions. For example; where the parties and the advocates in a single election petition exceed 10 in number, the trial judge shall use audio-visual facilities where it exists or use open space where possible.
Other guidelines include; limiting and accrediting journalists who wish to cover the sessions and ensuring that all parties, lawyers, witnesses and journalists attending court observe SOPs.