The US Embassy in Kampala has released a statement encouraging Ugandans to respect the Supreme Court decision on the rightful election of President Yoweri Museveni.
The statement came hours after the Supreme Court, led by Justice Bart Katureebe, dismissed a petition filed by former candidate Amama Mbabazi challenging Museveni’s re-election.
Court ruled that despite some irregularities, the cases were insignificant, and that Museveni was dully elected.
Katureebe said that “having made due inquiry into the petition and on the basis of our findings set out in the judgment:
1) We hereby declare that the 1st respondent was validly elected as President in accordance with Article 104 of the Constitution and section 59 of the Presidential Elections Act.
2) Accordingly, this petition is dismissed with no order as to costs.”
The US showed its anxiety with the situation in Kampala in the past two months, with Secretary State John Kerry calling Museveni in February.
Kerry then expressed his concern about the “detentions of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and harassment of opposition party members during voting and tallying, and he urged Museveni to rein in the police and security forces, noting that such action calls into question Uganda’s commitment to a transparent and credible election process free from intimidation.”
Kerry “expressed concern about the Government of Uganda’s decision to block several popular social media and mobile money sites starting on Election Day.”
Museveni was robust in his reply then, telling Kerry that “Col Besigye had not been detained, but escorted back to his house because he had attempted to assault a govt facility, which is not acceptable anywhere in any country.”
“Most importantly, I told John Kerry not to worry about the internal affairs of Uganda because we know how to handle the issues, and I will call the Ambassador and tell her the things she doesn’t know about Uganda.”
I received credentials of the new U.S. Ambassador to Uganda; Ms Deborah Malac at StateHouse Entebbe earlier today. pic.twitter.com/kVU26xfjXR
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) February 27, 2016
The new ambassador Deborah Malac assumed office as U.S. envoy to Uganda only a week before the February 18 election, replacing Ambassador Scott DeLisi.
THIS IS THE STATEMENT FROM THE US EMBASSY
The U.S. Embassy notes today’s Supreme Court ruling affirming the results of Uganda’s February 18 presidential vote that saw President Yoweri Museveni re-elected to his fifth term.
We encourage all Ugandans to respect the Court’s decision, and express their views in a peaceful manner.
We note that the Court acknowledged some instances of non-compliance by Election Commission officials and interference by security authorities.
We look forward to reading the Court’s full decision when it is released.
We hope that the government will now address the grievances voiced by its own people in the wake of these elections and take the necessary steps to enact reforms that will guarantee political inclusivity, transparency, accountability and free and fair elections. Uganda’s future prosperity and democratic progress will depend on such actions.