LAWYERS SUE GOVT FOR ‘FAILING’ TO TRANSLATE CONSTITUTION INTO LOCAL LANGUAGE

By Jolly Gwari and Agencies

City Lawyers Martins Kirya and Micheal Aboneka have dragged Government to the High court in Kampala, seeking orders compelling it to translate the Constitution into 56 local languages of the Tribes in Uganda.

In their lawsuit filed before the High Court Civil division, the two lawyers claim that the Attorney General William Byaruhanga has unreasonably and deliberately failed in his duty to cause or to have the translation of the Constitution into various Uganda local languages and dissemination of the same as wide as possible for 24years after the 1995 Constitution came into force.

 In addition, they said that it’s the duty of the Attorney General to promote public awareness of the constitution under Article 4. Notably, the state that under the said article, the state mandatorily committed itself and was obligated to promote public awareness of the Constitution into all local languages to enable all citizens read, understand and appreciate their rights and obligations which rights are given by God. 

“That ever since the promulgation and commencement of 1995 Constitution, the state has deliberately failed to cause or complete the translation and dissemination of the Constitution in the various indigenous languages as mandated by the Constitution to enable the plaintiffs (the two lawyers) and the other indigenous Ugandans know their rights and obligations in their local dialect which is contrary to the law” reads in part the court documents. 

The court documents further indicate that the state has failed to provide for the teaching of the Constitution in all educational institutions and armed forces training institutions and regularly transmitting and publishing programs through the media generally as per its mandatory mandate. “As a result, many of the Ugandan citizens especially those that cannot comprehend the English language and the illiterates have been denied an opportunity to be informed of their inherent rights as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution which are written in English language,” the court documents further state.

Lawyers want Court to give Government only two years within which to immediately commence or draw plans to complete the translation of the constitution. The suit has been filed through Thomas and Micheal Advocates and received by the Court’s Registrar who is yet to summon the Attorney General of Government to file his defense in 15days.

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