I did not go to any law school, but on whether or not National Unity Platform – NUP can use red as its party colour, I can surely tell you, ‘Absolutely, yes.’ I took interest in reading the UPC Constitution and the 2005 Political Parties and Organizations Act in order to understand this better. Let me share with you a few facts on which I have based my argument.
Article 1.3 of the Uganda People’s Congress Constitution states that the flag of the Party shall be tricolour running horizontally with Black on top(for African personality), Red in the middle (for Human Equality and Brotherhood) and Blue (for Peace and Justice) at the bottom with the open right hand in black on a watermark circle background in the middle of the flag.
First of all, the article does not mention that red shall be the dominant colour. This suggests that red is not the dominant colour for UPC.
Secondly, the three colours appear in equal proportion meaning that UPC does not have any dominant colour.
Article 7 Section (5) of the 2005 Political Parties and Organisations Act states that the Electoral Commission shall not register any political party or organisation whose name, symbol, slogan, or colour resembles that of a political party or organisation that has already been registered or contravenes paragraph (a) of section 8.
First of all, did the Electoral Commission act erroneously to register the following parties that share party colours?
i) FDC and JEEMA which use blue as one of their party colours yet blue had already been registered under UPC;
ii) FDC which uses red, yellow and green which had been registered under UPC, NRM and DP respectively; and
iii) NUP which uses red, blue and white, with red and blue being registered colours under UPC.
Of course, someone will argue that FDC uses sky blue which is different from the navy blue of NUP and the blue of UPC. The NUP sympathiser will, in the same spirit, argue that there are different types of red. Which red did UPC register so that NUP can also register another type of red?
Should NUP pay the price if the Electoral Commission acted erroneously to register party colours that had already been registered under other political parties?
Article 8 of the 2005 Political Parties and Organizations Act states that a political party or organization shall not submit to the Electoral Commission for
the purpose of registration under section 7, any identifying symbol, slogan, colour or name which is the same as or similar to the symbol, slogan, colour or name or initials of—
(a) any registered political party or organisation;
(b) the Republic of Uganda; or
(c) a statutory corporation or other body the whole or the greater part of the proprietary interest in which is held by or on behalf of the State, or in which the State has a controlling interest;
or which so closely resembles, the symbol, slogan, colour or name or initials of another political party or organisation or the Republic of Uganda or a body described in paragraph (c) as to be likely to deceive or confuse members of the
If the above article suggests that NUP cannot use red as its party colour because it is registered under UPC, how come JEEMA and FDC use blue as their party colour yet the same colour is registered under UPC?
In all his submissions, the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama uses the words ‘dominant colour’ which do not appear anywhere in the 2005 Political Parties and Organizations Act. Where does he get these words from?
Going by the UPC constitution, UPC does not have a dominant colour as the EC boss suggests. Black, blue and red appear on the UPC flag in equal proportion. If asking NUP not to use red as its party colour was based on the fact that red is a dominant colour registered under UPC, that does no longer stand because UPC does not have a dominant colour.
If asking NUP not to use red is based on the fact that red is registered under UPC, then FDC and JEEMA should also stop using blue because blue is registered under UPC.
The Electoral Commission cannot apply the law selectively. The law must apply uniformly to all political parties. If JEEMA, UPC, NUP and FDC can use blue, any party can use red if it is registered as one of its party colours.
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