Lawyers representing government in the case challenging the directive on issuance of electronic East African passports, have Monday told High Court that an interim order to halt the issuance of the said passports would be a wastage of public resources.
Allan Mukama, the lawyer representing government informed the High Court deputy registrar, Sarah Langa, that an interim order to stop the issuance will be wastage of taxpayers’ money since the process is already underway.
In 2018, government announced a move to phase out all Ugandan passports in favour of the newly introduced regional passports.
The move prompted a one Michael Aboneka and Centre for Constitutional Governance to drag the Attorney General to the High Court’s civil division, seeking an injunction to stop the process pending determination on the main case which challenges the mode and procedures of the same. The main case will resume in March.
The petitioners claim that it is not right for the Ministry of Internal Affairs to recall the Ugandan passports by 2021 regardless of their expiry. They argue that if this happens, it will be a breach of contract with the people of Uganda since most of their passports were to expire after 2021.
But Mukama says the case has already been overtaken by events and stopping it will be an abuse of the court process since government has already embarked on giving out the East African passports.
‘’Government started receiving applications in December last year and some applicants have already got and are using their international East African Passports,’’ he argued.
Mukama, said that the issuance of the e-passports is in compliance with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Authority which provided 2021 as a deadline for all passports to have electronic chips containing all the bio data for the holder.
On his part, Gawaya Tegule, the applicant’s lawyer told court that government gave the directive on East African passports without consulting and thorough sensitisation of the citizenry.
‘’Under the rule of law, government is accountable to its people, it should be transparent and whatever it does should be be in line with the aspirations of Ugandans,’’ Tegule told court on Monday.
Meanwhile, High Court deputy registrar, Sarah Langa, has adjourned the matter to Friday January 25, when she will deliver her ruling.