The Electoral Commission (EC) has denied allegations raised by Amama Mbabazi that President Museveni was illegally nominated as a presidential candidate to participate in the 2016 race for the country’s highest office.
Mr Mbabazi in his petition, faults the electoral body for nominating President Yoweri Museveni without first being endorsed by his party (NRM) as the electoral laws demand.
Mr Mbabazi’s team also accuse the EC of favouritism when the electoral body departed from its original road map and extended the nomination dates for the presidents from October 5 and 6 to December 3 just to accommodate President Museveni.
But Mr Enos Tumusiime, the lawyer representing the EC, argued that President Museveni was nominated following the established electoral rules under sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Presidential Elections Act after fulfilling all the requirements.
Justifying the extension of the nomination dates from October 5 and 6 to December 3, Mr Tumusiime explained this was intended for EC and the intending presidential candidates to fully comply with the newly introduced electoral laws.
Some of the new electoral laws included; the reduction of voting time from 5pm to 4pm, the increase in the payment of the nomination fees from Shs8million to Shs20million and it not being mandatory to campaign in the districts.
“The extension was not about favouring the 1st respondent (President Museveni). My lords, I believe I have convinced you,” Mr Tumusiime argued.
“The EC denies any illegalities and states that the 1st respondent (Mr Museveni) was duly nominated on December 3rd 2015, as NRM candidate,” Mr Tumusiime added.
Earlier, Mr Tumusiime, asked the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe to dismiss the allegations by Mbabazi’s team that it conducted the February 18 polls in which Museveni was returned winner with 60.7 per cent without a voters’ register.
Mr Tumusiime submitted that the EC compiled, maintained, updated and revised the register with over 15 million registered voters . He defended the move by the EC to archive the old register and compile a fresh one because there were challenges with the 2011 register that captured only four out of 10 biometric finger prints, multiple registration scenarios and mismatching photos to the voters’ bio data.
Hearing continues with Mr Tumusiime submitting on the late delivery of voting materials. The EC, which is the 2nd respondent in this election petition, has the whole of today to rebut Mr Mbabazi’s allegations of organising a sham election.