The Petition. Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi yesterday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the election of Mr Yoweri Museveni as President and seeking its annulment. The Electoral Commission (EC) declared candidate Museveni as the winner of the February 18 election with 60.8 per cent of the vote. The runner up, Dr Kizza Besigye of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), polled 35 per cent, followed by Mr Mbabazi in third position with 1.5 per cent. Mr Mbabazi has given 28 grounds why Museveni’s election should not stand. In the petition, Mr Mbabazi is named as the petitioner against candidate Museveni, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General as the first, second and third respondents, respectively. Below we reproduce a slightly edited version of the petition. The court has up to 30 days to hear the petition and deliver the judgment.
The petition of Mr Amama Mbabazi of Nyonyi Gardens Kololo Uganda, whose name is stated at the foot of this petition, shows:
1. Your petitioner Amama Mbabazi is a person who was a candidate at the above mentioned Presidential Election and is an aggrieved candidate within the meaning of the Presidential Election Act.
2. And your petitioner states that the election was held on the 18th day of February 2016 when Abed Bwanika, Amama Mbabazi, Baryamureeba Venansius, Benon Buta Biraaro, Kizza Besigye Kifefe, Mabirizi Joseph, Maureen Faith Kyalya Waluube and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni were candidates and the Electoral Commission has returned Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as the validly elected President by its Declaration dated 20th February 2016.
3. And your petitioner contends that the following offences and illegal practices were committed in connection with the said Presidential election that:
(a) (i) Contrary to Section 64 (1) and (4) of the Presidential Elections Act hereinafter referred to as “the Act” the 1st Respondent [Mr Museveni] and his agents with his knowledge and consent or approval gave a bribe of hoes to the voters of West Nile with intent that they should vote the 1st Respondent and to refrain from voting the petitioner and other presidential candidates.
(ii) Contrary to Section 64 (1) and (4) of the Presidential Elections Act between mid-2015 and 16th and 18th of February 2016 the 1st Respondent through his agents and with the knowledge and consent or approval gave a bribe of Ushs250,000 (Uganda Shillings) to voters in every village throughout Uganda on two occasions with intent that they should vote the 1st Respondent and to refrain from voting the petitioner and other candidates
(b) Contrary to S.69 (1) (a) and (b) of the Act the 1st Respondent made reckless statements while referring to the petitioner and candidate Kizza Besigye that he was not prepared to hand over power to wolves, “emishega” and that the followers-cum-supporters of the petitioner and Kizza Besigye were “mad”.
(c) Contrary to Section 26 (b) of the Act the 1st Respondent organized, under the Uganda Police, a political partisan militia, the so-called “crime preventers” under the superintendence of the Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura, a paramilitary force –cum-militia to use force and violence against persons suspected of not supporting candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni thereby causing a breach of peace, disharmony and disturbance of public tranquility and induce others to vote against their conscience in order to gain unfair advantage for candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
(c) Contrary to Sections 24 (5) (a) (i) (ii) (b) (c) (d) and 7 of the Act the 1st Respondent on several occasions threatened to arrest your petitioner and candidate Kizza Besigye and used derogatory and reckless language when he stated that your Petitioner and his supporters had touched “the anus of a leopard” and would see what would happen to them and this had the effect of scaring voters to vote the 1st Respondent for their own safety.
(d) Contrary to Sections 24 (5) (a) (i) (ii) (b) (c) + (d) and 7 of the Act the 1st Respondent on various occasions threatened that if the voters elected your petitioner or anybody else, Uganda would go back to war and this had the effect of influencing the voters to vote the 1st Respondent so as to maintain the status quo.
(e) That the above illegal practices and offences were committed by the 1st Respondent personally or and his agents and supporters with his knowledge and consent or approval through the Police, some elements of the Military, Special Forces and the organs of the State attached to his office under his command as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Chairman of the National Defence Council and High Command and Chairman of the National Resistance Movement.
4. Your petitioner says that on … September 2015, contrary to S.3 (1) (2) of the Act, under the directive of the 1st Respondent, the Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura and his officers prevented your petitioner, as an aspirant from conducting consultations with voters in preparation for his nomination as a presidential candidate.
5. Under the directive of the 1st Respondent some officers under the command of General Kale Kayihura of the Uganda Police Force applied force and arrested your petitioner along Jinja Road in Njeru Town Council near the Owen Falls Dam Bridge and publicly humiliated him and later detained him at Kira Road Police Station thereby giving unfair advantage to the 1st Respondent who on the other hand was criss-crossing the country undeterred under the guise of “wealth creation” (sic) when he was in effect campaigning.
6. Contrary to Section 3 of the Act when your petitioner was subsequently allowed to go, he was hounded and trailed by some members of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, the Uganda Police, a motley crew of all the state security agencies and the so-called Crime Preventers (sic) who would go as advance teams or would go at the time of the consultations to dissuade voters and members of the public from attending the Petitioner’s meetings and actually dispersed the petitioner’s meetings in diverse places in eastern Uganda, instilled fear and harassed all who attended the said meetings, and arrested all those who carried your petitioner’s manifestos, posters and other campaign materials thereby frustrating his efforts and giving unfair advantage to candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
7. Contrary to Sections 9 and 10 of the Act:
(a) The 1st Respondent was nominated by the 2nd Respondent (Electoral Commission) illegally on the 3rd day of November 2015 when the 1st Respondent had not yet been sponsored by the National Resistance Movement on whose ticket he purportedly contested.
(b) The 2nd Respondent acted improperly when it extended the deadline to give the 1st Respondent more time instead of declaring the 1st Respondent’s nomination papers null and void under S.11 of the Act after the deadline had passed and after all other candidates had submitted their respective documents thereby giving the 1st Respondent unfair advantage.
8. Contrary to Section 12 (i) (e) of the Election Commission Act, the 2nd Respondent failed to accord equal treatment to your petitioner when it failed to prevail upon authorities and agencies of government such as the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation and the New Vision Publishing Corporation through their electronic and print media to render equal coverage to him to enable him present his programmes but they offered preferential treatment to the 1st Respondent.
9. Contrary to Section 26 of the Act, the 1st Respondent directed a one [retired] Major General to fly the 1st Respondent’s helicopter fully decorated with the 1st Respondent’s campaign posters and party colours to land at Boma Ground Fort Portal and instilled fear and uncertainty and in effect interfering with the scheduled electioneering activities of your petitioner culminating in the disruption of your petitioner’s rally.
10. Contrary to Section 27 of the Act, the 1st Respondent made use of government resources which are not ordinarily attached to and utilized by the President without proper authorization by law thereby having unfair advantage over your Petitioner.
11. Contrary to Section 28(a) (b) (c) of the Act on 18th February 2016 officials of the 2nd Respondent delivered to many polling stations the voting materials late and at many polling stations voting did not commence until 2:00 pm and in some places at 4:00pm and yet others at 8:30pm and ended after 1:00am in other places.
12. Contrary to the provisions of Sections 33 and 48 (4) and (5) of the Act on the polling day during the polling exercise the Petitioner’s polling agents were chased away from the Polling Stations in many districts of Uganda and as a result the Petitioner’s interests at those polling stations could not be safeguarded.
13. Contrary to Section 30 (2) and (5) of the Act, the 2nd Respondent and its agents/servants allowed voting before the official polling time and allowed people to vote beyond the polling time by people who were neither present at polling stations nor in the line of voters at the official hour of closing.
14. Contrary to Section 31 (8) of the Act, the 2nd Respondent’s agents/servants in the course of their duties, allowed commencement of the poll with pre-ticked ballot papers, ballot boxes already stuffed with ballot papers and without first opening the said boxes in full view of all present to ensure that they are devoid of any contents.
15. Contrary to Section 32 of the Act, the 2nd Respondent’s agents/servants/the Presiding Officers in the course of their duties and with full knowledge that some people had already voted allowed the same people to vote more than once.
16. Contrary to Art. 61 (1) (e) of the 1995 Constitution and Section 12 (f) and Section 18 of the Electoral Commission Act, the 2nd Respondent failed in its statutory duty of properly compiling and securely maintaining the integrity of the National Voters’ Register and instead illegally retired the duly compiled Voters’ register and purported to create another using data compiled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
17. Contrary to Section 35 (1) and (2) of the Act, the 2nd Respondent failed to identify voters by their respective voters cards but instead applied an unreliable, slow and suspect biometric identification machines thereby denying legitimate registered voters their right to vote and creating room for persons not duly registered to vote.
18. Contrary to Section 12 (b) and (c) of the Electoral Commission Act 2005, the 2nd Respondent failed to control the distribution and use of ballot boxes and ballot papers resulting in the commission of numerous election offences under Part X of the Act as hereunder:-
(a) Unauthorized persons got possession of ballot papers and other ballot documents relating to the election and used them during the election.
(b) Unauthorized persons and/or officials of the 2nd Respondent used the ballot documents acquired to stuff ballot boxes, tick ballot papers on behalf of the voters, vote more than once and/or doctor figures in the Declaration of Results Forms (DRs) and Tally sheets.
19. Contrary to Section 33 of the Act, the 2nd Respondent’s agents/servants the Presiding Officers failed to prevent the Petitioner’s polling agents from being chased away from Polling Stations and as a result the Petitioner’s agents were unable to observe and to monitor the voting process.
20. Contrary to Sections 30 (4) and 35 of the Act, the 2nd Respondent and its agents/servants, the Presiding Officers in the course of their duties allowed people with no Valid Voter’s Cards to vote or denied those who had cards from voting.
21. Contrary to Section 43 of the Act the 2nd Respondent and its agents/servants in the course of their duties allowed people with deadly weapons, to wit soldiers and the so-called Crime Preventers at Polling Stations – a presence which intimidated many voters to vote for the soldiers’ boss and candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni while many of those who disliked being forced to vote for that candidate stayed away and refrained from voting at all.
22. Contrary to Section 48 of the Act the 2nd Respondent’s agents/servants in the course of their duties denied the Petitioner’s Polling Agents information concerning the counting and tallying process.
23. Contrary to Section 49 of the Act the 2nd Respondent’s agents/servants allowed the voting and carried out the counting and tallying of votes in the forced absence of the Petitioner’s agents whose duty was to safeguard the Petitioner’s interests by observing the voting, counting and tallying process and ascertaining the results.
24. Contrary to Section 12 (1) (e) and (f) of the Electoral Commission Act the 2nd Respondent failed to ensure that the entire Presidential Electoral process was conducted under conditions of freedom and fairness and as a result your Petitioner’s and his agents’ campaigns were interfered with by some elements of the military including the Special Forces and the so-called Crime Preventers under General Kale Kayihura.
25. The Petitioner’s agents and supporters were abducted and some arrested by some elements of the army to prevail upon them to vote for the First Respondent or to refrain from voting contrary to Section 76 (b) of the Act.
26. Contrary to Sections 72 () and (j) and 73 (b) of the Act some of the 2nd Respondent’s agents/servants the Presiding Officers/Polling Assistants in the course of their duties ticked ballot papers in the 1st Respondent’s favour and later gave them to voters to put in the ballot boxes and others interfered with ballot boxes and stuffed them with already ticked ballot papers, and failed to prevent “table voting” in some areas such as in Kiruhura District and in most areas of the cattle corridor in Uganda.
27. The commission of the herein mentioned offences and illegal practices by the 1st Respondent and instances of non-compliance with the provisions of the law by the 2nd Respondent are proved by electronic evidence, affidavit evidence and several reports of eminent observer teams which shall be relied upon at the hearing.
28. In the result, such non-compliance with the provisions of the Presidential Elections Act 2005 and of the Electoral Commission Act as aforesaid affected the result of the Presidential Election in a substantial manner as hereunder:
(i) The number of actual voters on the Voters’ Roll/Register remained unknown and some people were disfranchised and the number of votes cast during the election at certain Polling Stations exceeded the registered number of registered voters or the ballot papers delivered at the station.
(ii) The identity of some of the voters could not be verified.
(iii) The electoral process regarding the voters’ register was full of serious flaws and some of the voters were denied the chance and sufficient time to correct those flaws.
(iv) No sufficient time was allowed for the Petitioner and his agents and supporters to scrutinize the voters roll/register and take corrective measures regarding the same.
(v) The Petitioner’s Polling Agents were denied the opportunity to safeguard their candidate’s interests at the time of voting, counting and tallying of votes and in the absence illegal voters voted while legitimate voters voted more than once.
(vi) The Petitioner was unduly hindered from freely canvassing support by the presence of some members of the military and so-called crime preventers and militia who intimidated the voters.
(vii) It cannot positively be ascertained that the 1st Respondent obtained more than 50% of valid votes of those entitled to vote.
• Therefore your Petitioner prays that this Honourable Court declares:-
(a) That Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was not validly elected as President.
(b) That the election be annulled.
• The Petitioner be awarded costs of this Petition.
• The Petition is accompanied by the Petitioner’s Affidavit together with other Affidavits sworn by deponents whose names appear in a list attached hereto and marked “A” and more affidavits to be filed later.