Saturday February 24 2018

Do you remember Presidential Elections Petition No.1 of 2016?



Asuman Bisiika

Asuman Bisiika 

By Asuman Bisiika

The biggest political scandal since 1986 was the fallout between Yoweri Museveni and Amama Mbabazi. This was even bigger than the Obote-Kakonge fallout of the early 1960s.
Truth be told, Mbabazi’s absence from all the centre of power has been felt from the NRM Secretariat and in the deeper recesses of the government. It is now difficult to get two credible NRM leaders with the self-confidence, national appeal, national visibility and astuteness associated with Mbabazi.
No wonder there are yet to be confirmed reports (please trust me on this) that the said Mbabazi may after all return to the limelight. And when the appointed time comes, the said Mbabazi will return where he belongs: On top of things.
But me being me, this is not what brought me here. I am here to remind the public, Museveni and the Attorney General of the small matter in the Supreme Court of Uganda. Oh yes, do you still remember Presidential Elections Petition No.1 of 2016?

If I must remind you, here it is: The particulars of this petition were that Mbabazi challenged the election of Museveni as president of Uganda in 2016. But as was expected by most Ugandans, Museveni’s election was upheld.
However, in the determination of Presidential Elections Petition No.1 of 2016, the Supreme Court of Uganda made a series of recommendations and ordered the government to carry out electoral reforms. These reforms were aimed at making the holding of elections in Uganda free, fair and credible.
To compel the government to carry out those reforms without fail and in time before the next cycle of elections, the Attorney General was ordered to report to the Supreme Court of Uganda within a period of two years (from the date of the delivery of the judgment or determination or ruling?). That is between March 31, 2016 and March 31, 2018.
Now, I would like to remind the public, Museveni, and the Attorney General that the two years in which the Attorney General was ordered to report to the Supreme Court of Uganda will elapse as at Wednesday March 31, 2018.
And according to the judgment of the Supreme Court of Uganda, government (or the Attorney General) now has only 35 days (from the date of this publication) to make those necessary electoral reforms.
Of course, I am not stupid. I am familiar with the fact that Museveni originated a constitutional amendment process that led to the removal of the 75-year age limit for presidential candidates. Do not mind the need and necessity of the said constitutional amendment…
One of the arguments in support of this constitutional amendment was that it was one of the responses to the orders of the Supreme Court of Uganda in the matter of the Presidential Elections Petition No. 1 of 2016. But Ugandans know the payload of this constitutional amendment was making Museveni an eligible presidential candidate for life.
The question then is: To what extent is the constitutional amendment (that removed the 75-year age limit for presidential candidates) related to the orders of the Supreme Court of Uganda arising from Presidential Elections Petition No. 1 of 2016?
Ugandans have to pray that the electoral reforms, which were ordered by the Supreme Court of Uganda, have to be executed before March 31, 2018. Otherwise, we will soon have a constitutional crisis on our hands.
And as a bona fide Ugandan citizen, I take this opportunity to remind the public, Museveni and the Attorney General: Do you still remember the Presidential Elections Petition No. 1 of 2016?

Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of East African Flagpost.

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