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Court can’t reverse Museveni election win

Bobi Wine’s case

The Electoral Commission and the Attorney General are already attempting to get the Supreme Court to dismiss Bobi Wine’s petition on a technicality. They argue that it was filed outside the mandatory 15 days after the declaration of results.

Under the 1995 constitution, as amended in 2017, a presidential candidate not satisfied with the results of the Electoral Commission has up to 15 days to file a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the results after they have been declared.

The Electoral Commission declared Museveni the winner on January 16. Therefore, Kyagulanyi had up to January 31 to file his petition. But that deadline fell on a Sunday prompting him through his lawyers to ask the court to file the petition on Saturday, January 30, which was denied. In a handwritten note, however, the Chief Justice Alphonse Owinyi Dollo allowed them to file on Monday, February 1, a day after the deadline, as courts don’t work on weekends. That means the case will probably proceed.

In the case proper, Bobi Wine has asked the Supreme Court to annul Museveni’s election victory, declare that the Electoral Commission (EC) failed to conduct the election in accordance with the law, and court to order fresh elections because EC’s non-compliance with the law affected the final outcome of the ballot in a substantial manner.

Not surprisingly, observers are already noting how the grounds of Bobi Wine’s petition are either the same or similar to those of previous petitioners including former prime minister Amama Mbabazi in 2016.

They point at only two key differences in Bobi Wine’s petitions from the others. The first is that the Electoral Commission arbitrarily, irrationally and indefinitely banned election campaign meetings in Kampala Jinja, Kabale, Kalungu, Masaka, Tororo, Luwero, Wakiso, Mukono, Buikwe, Buvuma, Mukono, Kayunga, Mbarara, Kabarole, Fort Portal City, Kasese and Kazo. According to Bobi Wine, this frustrated his right to associate, assemble and interface with the electorate.

The other difference is that the Attorney General neglected or refused to amend or cause amendment to the relevant laws which would ensure a free and fair election as directed by the Supreme Court in the Mbabazi Presidential Election petition.

Some of the Supreme Court’s 10 recommendations at the time, among others, were that time for filing and determination of a presidential election petition be increased from 30 to at least 60 days; use of oral evidence in addition to affidavit evidence be accepted in court; and, time for holding a fresh election where the previous election has been nullified be increased from the currently prescribed 20 days.

The judges also ordered that technology in elections be backed by law and sanctions against any State organ or officer for violating election laws. All these and other propositions are yet to be implemented, if ever, five years after the judges’ decision.

Bobi Wine accuses Museveni of allowing security agencies such as the UPDF and police to commit murder, cause grievous bodily harm, violence, abduction and intimidation against NUP agents and supporters cross the country.

Bobi Wine also alleges that Museveni caused the provision of money and other gifts to voters with intent to influence how they vote.

Bobi Wine argues that the EC compromised its independence when it subjected its functions to the direction and control of candidate Museveni, state organs, agencies and security institutions, which actions violate the Constitution.

He also accuses the electoral body of failing to prevent multiple voting in various parts of the country, ballot stuffing, and failure to ascertain, transmit, tabulate and declare the actual results of the presidential elections transparently.

Some of the Supreme Court’s 10 recommendations at the time, among others, were that time for filing and determination of a presidential election petition be increased from 30 to at least 60 days; use of oral evidence in addition to affidavit evidence be accepted in court; and, time for holding a fresh election where the previous election has been nullified be increased from the currently prescribed 20 days.

The judges also ordered that technology in elections be backed by law and sanctions against any State organ or officer for violating election laws. All these and other propositions are yet to be implemented, if ever, five years after the judges’ decision. Bobi Wine hopes these new developments will persuade the judges to rule differently to how they have done in the past. The new grounds are crucial because many of the judges lined up to hear this case also heard the 2016 petition. These include Esther Kisaakye, Stella Arach Amoko, Rubby Opio-Aweri, Faith Mwondha and Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza.  Only Chief Justice Alphonso Owinyi-Dollo, Paul Mugamba, Mike Chibita, Ezekiel Muhagunzi and Percy Tuhaise are new. Any new developments could depend on how they are persuaded.

Highlights of Bobi Wine election petition grounds

Claims against the EC (11)

–   Disenfranchised voters by not ensuring all citizens eligible to vote were registered

– Failed to produce accurate voters’ register and conduct voter education

– Arbitrarily decided election roadmap, mode of campaign and guidelines

– Failed to ensure secure conditions for election

– Instituted selectively-applied arbitrary guidelines

-Arbitrarily banned campaigns in 16 districts

-Failed to prevent/stop ballot stuffing and multiple voting

– Non-transparent tabulation, transmission and declaration of results

-Commission was under control and direction of candidate Museveni, state agents

-Failed to guarantee petitioner’s security and ensure his consultations happened uninterrupted

– Failed in effective distribution of voting materials

Claims against Museveni (6)

– Has history of election violence, scared voters by declaring self “master of violence”

– Superintended or condoned election crimes by armed forces

– Holds command responsibility for security brutalization of petitioner and agents

– Made reckless and derogatory comments about petitioner, which discouraged voters

– Museveni and agents offered bribes to voters

-Authorized or condoned security to deface, remove or replace Bobi posters with his.

Claims against Attorney General (9)

-Non-amendment of laws as directed by Supreme Court to ensure free, credible poll

-Police and soldiers blocked petitioner’s prospective consultations about candidature

– Internet, Mobile Money switch-off impaired facilitation of campaign agents on voting day

– Security forces arrested and brutalized petitioner on nomination day

-UPDF and police interfered with petitioner’s rallies to candidate Museveni advantage

– Armed forces disrupted petitioner’s manifesto launch in Mbarara and Kamwokya in Kampala

– Soldiers and police seized campaign materials of petitioner and arrested his agents

– Blanket security deployments stirred terror, discouraged voters from voting

– Security and resident district commissioners acted as Museveni agents, coerced voters to cast ballot for him.

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6 comments

  1. How will the court separate the Presidential and directly elected MPs election considering that they were conducted on the same day using the same EC processes under question by the petition.

  2. You haven’t replied but the gentleman asked a nice question

  3. Ugandans how i wish we could go for dry clean fasting for a week, we would have seen the mighty hand of God upon this nation. We have distanced ourselves from God and thats the FACT, pray my people!!!!!

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