Court dismisses Mbabazi petition against President Museveni re-election

Thursday March 31 2016

EC chairperson Eng. Badru Kiggundu and

EC chairperson Eng. Badru Kiggundu and spokesperson Mr Jotham Taremwa hug after the 9 Justices of the Supreme Court, by a unanimous decision, on Thursday dismissed a petition by former Independent candidate Amama Mbabazi seeking nullification of president Museveni's victory. Photo by Eric Dominic Bukenya. 

By Anthony Wesaka, Ivan Okuda, Isaac Imaka

The 9 Justices of the Supreme Court, by a unanimous decision, on Thursday dismissed a petition by former Independent candidate Amama Mbabazi, seeking to nullify President Museveni’s re-election. It did not award costs.

The Electoral Commission on February 20, 2016 declared Museveni winner with 60.7 per cent of valid votes cast.

Mr Mbabazi, a former prime minister and secretary-general of the ruling national party, who emerged a distant third in the February poll, contested the outcome on grounds of non-compliance with electoral laws.

“Having made due inquiry into the petition, we find the first respondent (Museveni) validly elected according to electoral laws, we dismiss the petition with no orders [as] to costs,” said Chief Justice Bart Katureeba as he read the Supreme Court ruling. A coram of nine justices heard and decided on the petition over 30 days.

Court agrees with the petitioner that there were some cases of non-compliance such as interferences by Resident District Commissioners, arrests of Opposition candidates and unequal coverage to presidential candidates by public media, especially the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation.
The irregularities, the court rules, never affected the final results of the election in a substantial manner to justify an annulment.

“In the matter before us, we find that there was non-compliance, but we are not satisfied that it affected the results in a substantial manner,” Justice Katureebe says.

The court faults as “gross incompetence and inefficiency” the failure by the Electoral Commission to deliver voting materials in time to nearby places such as Kampala and Wakiso districts.

The Justices, however, say the petitioner did not provide evidence in court to prove most of his allegations such as disenfranchisement of voters, under-age voting, ballot stuffing and multiple voting and irregular tallying, transmission and announcement of the results.