Wednesday March 16 2016

Museveni denies flouting electoral rules, asks court to throw out Mbabazi petition

President Museveni’s lawyer Didas Nkurunziza at

President Museveni’s lawyer Didas Nkurunziza at the Supreme Court during the hearing of a petition seeking to annul the February 18 presidential election results. Photo by Dominic Bukenya 

By Anthony Wesaka, Isaac Imaka & Ivan Okuda

KAMPALA. As the hearing of a petition seeking nullification of the February 18 presidential election results enters day three at the Supreme Court, president Yoweri Museveni, has denied flouting electoral rules.

Through his lawyers, Didas Nkurunziza, Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Joseph Matsiko, president Museveni who has been in power for 30 years denies committing any electoral irregularities, before, during and after the general elections that ultimately saw the EC return him as winner with 60.7 per cent of the total votes cast before asking the highest court in the land to throw out Mr Mbabazi’s petition with costs.
Mr Nkurunziza while defending President Museveni, tackled the various bribery allegations that were raised against him by Mr Mbabazi including dishing out Shs250,000 to every village in exchange for votes and giving out of hand hoes to the people of West Nile.

On hoes, Mr Nkurunziza who referred to the sworn affidavit of Prime Mminister Ruhakana Rugunda, argued that this was an ongoing government programme that started way before the 2016 presidential campaigns.
He argued that the programme was to run for three financial years starting financial year 2013/14 to support women and youth in West Nile with hoes.
Mr Nkurunziza also reminded the nine-member panel of justices presided over by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe that the president remains head of state even during campaigns and that he can still preside over government programmes that should not be confused as being bribery.

Mr Yoweri Museveni during the recent

Mr Yoweri Museveni during the recent presidential election campaigns. File photo

“There is no evidence in court that the first respondent (Mr Museveni) as a candidate gave out the hoes and therefore, the bribery allegation is not proved,” Mr Nkurunziza argued.
On the allegation of giving out Shs250, 000 to every village throughout the country in exchange for votes, Mr Nkurunziza submitted that the money in question was sent out to help the NRM chairpersons to carry out party activities.
“It is clear that the money was for [NRM] party activities and no political party can survive without financing of its activities and officials,” he explained.

On the allegations that President Museveni threatened Mr Mbabazi and his supporters that they will face his wrath if they dare ‘touched leopard’s anus’, Mr Nkurunziza told court that the alleged derogatory statements by Mr Museveni were directed at those who were involved in breaking the law.
He further submitted that Mr Museveni did not refer the same statements to Mr Mbabazi and his supporters unless if they fell under the category law breakers.
“He only referred to the people who were breaching the law. If the petitioner (Mr Mbabazi) thinks this was being referred to and his supporter, then he falls in that category. These allegations have not been proved,” Mr Nkurunziza added.
President Museveni though his lawyers also denied interfering with Mr Mbabazi’s campaigns.