Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye yesterday said the 2016 election process is not over yet as he was considering going to court to challenge the results.
He said he and President Museveni are still candidates until the 10 days prescribed in the law elapse without a petition challenging the results being filed in court, an option he did not rule out.
Dr Besigye said he will be at the Electoral Commission offices by 9am today to collect the evidence which he said will form the basis of his decision to contest the election in the Supreme Court or not.
“Article 104 (of the Constitution) provides for challenging the election,” Dr Besigye told the media yesterday afternoon at his home in Kasangati, “Nobody is conclusively elected unless that process of challenging the results has been disposed of or the option has not been taken up.”
Dr Besigye had, by the time he addressed the press, been confined to his home in Kasangati for two days with the police blockading the road to his house and only a few journalists were allowed in for the news conference while others were barred. It, therefore, remained unclear whether he would be allowed to go to the Electoral Commission offices today as he planned to do.
Dr Besigye said because of being confined to his home for the whole of yesterday, he had lost a day and had only nine more to collect evidence of rigging and other irregularities from all over the country, a task he said was complicated by the fact that all the evidence is supposed to be presented through affidavits. He said he had also been denied access to his lawyers because of the confinement, which he said also affected his preparations in case he were to challenge the election.
Dr Besigye has in the past repeatedly vowed not to return to the Supreme Court to challenge an election, saying the failure of the court to, on two occasions, annul the presidential elections when he felt he had proved his case, affected his belief in the Court. Sources close to him, however, say Dr Besigye could be open to a third petition given the “enormity of evidence” that they feel could improve their chances of succeeding in the courts.
He vowed to fight on in what he called a “battle for liberation”, saying he had spent “almost all my adult life struggling for good governance in our country (and) it does not make sense giving up now.”
The Electoral Commission last Saturday declared Mr Museveni winner of the February 18 election with close to 61 per cent, with Dr Besigye coming second with 35 per cent and former prime minister Amama Mbabazi scoring less than 2 per cent. The rest of the votes were shared among the remaining five candidates, who scored less than one per cent each.
Almost five per cent of the votes cast were adjudged to be invalid, something Dr Besigye said could symbolise an anomaly in the election. He claimed that at some polling stations, voters were handed “ballots which were pre-ticked in favour of candidate Museveni”. “Because of the defiance of some of our supporters,” he said, “Some also ticked me and the ballots became invalid.”
FDC rejects results
The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change party, which sponsored Dr Besigye’s candidature, through its president Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, rejected the results of the election even before the final results were declared.
Gen Muntu, in light of the heavy deployment of the military in different areas, said what was happening in the country was “a creeping coup d’ etat”. Dr Besigye too rejected the results in a statement he posted on his Facebook page shortly after the final results were declared.
Dr Besigye and Gen Muntu, together with other senior members of the party, were meeting at the party’s headquarters at Najjanankumbi when the police stormed the area, dispersed the party’s supporters with tear gas and pepper spray, and broke into the meeting room, arresting Dr Besigye, Gen Muntu and Ms Ingrid Turinawe, the party’s mobilisation secretary.
Dr Besigye said yesterday that after the meeting, they intended to address the press on the “discrepancies” between the results Dr Kiggundu was reading out at Namboole and what had been declared at the different polling stations.
“It was that discrepancy that we intended to expose early enough (and show) that what he (Kiggundu) was reading was fiction,” Dr Besigye said, “That is what prompted the storming of our offices and our subsequent arrest.”