Kampala- Senior officials in government last night described claims by run-away General David Sejusa that he and other army officers doctored presidential election results in favour of President Museveni as nonsensical.
The General’s confession attracted disdain from an official spokesman who lampooned him as a “spoiler”. Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director at the Government Media Centre, also refused to respond to the claims.
“I don’t want to comment on anything related to Sejusa. He is riffraff trying to seek relevance,” Mr Opondo said.
The former coordinator of intelligence agencies revealed on Saturday that FDC candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, won the February 23, 2006 vote with a 69 per cent margin. The President, he said, had managed less than 30 per cent of the ballot.
“We organised another Electoral Commission of intelligence at Basiima House and it is our results that we pushed through to the [official] Electoral Commission. How can you win in that type of situation?” he said.
Carried else where
News of the confession and appeal for forgiveness were carried in foreign media, amongst them on the following websites: http://www.thelondoneveningpost.com/i-am-wrong-and-say-i-am-sorry-but-i-must-move-foward-gen-david-sejusa-tells-ugandans/ http://www.blackstarnews.com/global-politics/africa/at-launch-of-freedom-and-unity-fronts-manifesto-former-top-museveni-aide
Speaking at the launch of a new opposition political party “Freedom and Unity Front” at the London School of Economics, Gen Sejusa added: “We need to look afresh at this whole experience of elections.”
The four-star general who fled the country early this year after authoring a letter alleging a plot to assassinate top political and military leaders opposed to a plan by President Museveni to groom his son Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who commands the elite.
Special Forces, as his successor, noted: “I must say it all now because [I] am a new man.” But government denies all this.
Attempts to get a comment from Electoral Commission chairman Badru Kiggundu or Secretary Sam Rwakoojo were fruitless by press time. Commission spokesman Jotham Taremwa told the Daily Monitor both senior officials were engaged in meetings.
Mr Taremwa, however, maintained that Sejusa’s claims were “nonsense”.
“Voting is a public programme that goes through several processes managed by an independent body, so how then does he claim they were in charge,” Mr Taremwa said. “Let him leave us outside his politics.”
In 2006, Mr Museveni was declared winner with 59 per cent, trailed by Dr Besigye at 37 per cent, DP’s Ssebaana Kizito returned 1.58 per cent while UPC’s Miria Obote and independent candidate Abed Bwanika each scored below 1 per cent.
“Anytime an African incumbent president is declared the winner by a 50 per cent margin then you know he’s lost,” Gen Sejusa noted, in reference to the margin of the win as declared by the EC in 2006.
The weekend revelations are the latest salvo lobbed by the General against Mr Museveni, whose hold onto power he has vowed to break, from his London exile.
In the lime light
For months now, he has been interviewed by several international media houses. During the interviews, he has accused Mr Museveni of leading a despotic government, perpetrating abuse of law and human rights and undermining democracy in the country.
In response, the army has said he could be tried for treason. The same army was involved in, and supported, the drawn-out process which ended with the ejection of Gen Sejusa from Parliament on grounds that he had missed 15 sittings without official leave or good reason contrary to House rules and constitutional provisions.
State House has, meanwhile, warned that any attempt to fight the government will be dealt with firmly. President Museveni in early October dared Gen Sejusa to try and use force to overthrow him, warning that any such attempt would be crushed.
Dr Besigye, a three-time presidential candidate and former head of the largest opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change, has disputed the electoral results in the last three polls. He unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court for a nullification of results in 2001 and 2006 before saying he wouldn’t bother in 2011 because he had lost confidence in the court.
The same court had, however, agreed with him that the electoral process was marred by irregularities, voter intimidation and rigging, noncompliance with electoral laws and an unverifiable voter’s register.
Court said in a majority decision of 4:3 that “in counting and tallying of results, the principle of free and fair elections was compromised by bribery and intimidation or violence,” but, “the failure to comply with the provisions and principles as found was not proved to have affected the results in a substantial manner.”
Comprising Justices Joseph Mulenga, Alfred Karokora, Arthur Oder, George Kanyeihamba, Wilson Tsekooko, Bart Katureebe and former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, the Supreme Court at the time has since been reported to have changed its mind.
Now retired, Mr Kanyeihamba has gone on the record saying that at a pre-decision conference of the justices convened April 5, 2006, the verdict on consensus was different from what was later delivered the next day, and that his colleagues erred in upholding Mr Museveni’s election even when they conceded that there were electoral irregularities.