Mbabazi petitions court to nullify Ugandan presidential election

March 2, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

Uganda’s Former Prime Minister and contender in the recently concluded presidential election John Patrick Amama Mbabazi filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the election of Yoweri Museveni as President of Uganda.

A team of his lawyers filed the petition in a frantic move to beat the deadline which ended Tuesday. Under the law, any one disgruntled by the outcome of the election can appeal within ten days after the declaration.

Mbabazi is suing President elect Yoweri Kagutta Museveni who has been listed as respondent one in the petition together with the Electoral commission and the Attorney General.

Mbabazi’s lead attorney Severino Twinobusingye says his client does not believe that Yoweri Museveni won the elections in a free and fair manner.

“What Kiggundu [electoral commission chairman] declared was not a valid declaration” he said.

One of the grounds for the petition is Non Compliance by the Electoral commission.  The petitioner cites delay in the delivery of voting material to polling stations, the late start of voting where at some polling stations the exercise started at 1pm, in other areas it started at 4pm the time it was supposed to close, while in the worst case scenario voting started as late as 8pm.

The electoral commission is also faulted for failing to handle the election materials in a proper manner, citing incidents where people were spotted carrying ballot papers, yet they were not officials of the electoral commission.

At some polling stations some voters who were seen checking the ballot papers on tables were not respecting the secrecy of the ballot.

They also claim the electoral commission chairperson Eng. Badru Kiggundu declared results without a tally center which was against the electoral laws.

“The electoral commission did not substantially follow the law. Non compliance affected the results and court should annul it” Mbabazi’s lawyer pointed out.

Voter bribery is another ground for the petition. The petitioner alleges that the President elect Yoweri Museveni was involved in bribing voters when he announced that he would give 18 million hand hoes to Ugandans during one of his campaigns as he sought votes.

 

 

Intimidation of witnesses

Twinobusingye says they faced a number of challenges gathering evidence to justify their case. He has told the media that 20 of their witnesses were arrested on Monday and it’s not clear where they were taken. According to him other witnesses have been intimidated by security operatives into not giving evidence while Hon. Amama Mbabazi was on Tuesday surrounded by police ahead of filing the petition. Mbabazi himself was not at the Supreme Court for the filing of the petition.

 

 

Court to hear petition in a month

Tome Chemtai the registrar Supreme Court who received the petition says the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe will constitute a quorum of Supreme Court justices to hear the petition within 30 days.

“Hearing of the petition is going to be what I can call marathon including sittings on weekends” he stated.

He says the court will create an enabling environment to enable the public to follow the proceedings on large screens that will be placed outside the courtroom.

Mbabazi’s team of lawyers first paid 400,000 Uganda shillings, about $150, for filing the petition, and deposited another 1 million Uganda shillings, about $400, as security for the costs in case the petition fails.

 

 

Yoweri Kagutta Museveni of the National Resistance Movement-NRM party was declared winner of the February election with 5,617,503 votes, giving him an eye popping 60.75% of the total votes cast.

John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, who ran the race on an Independent ticket, garnered 132, 574 votes, reflecting 1.43%.

Retired Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye of opposition Forum for Democratic Change- FDC finished in second place with 3,270,290, taking home only 35.37% of the votes cast in the February 18th presidential election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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