Justice Kanyeihamba Criticises Peers Over Mbabazi Petition

Retired Supreme Court Judge Prof. George Kanyeihamba has criticized the current bench over their ruling on the 2016 presidential petition.

Yesterday the Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi, challenging the declaration of Yoweri Museveni of NRM as the winner of the February 18thelections.

In their ruling delivered by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, the nine judges dismissed the case on grounds of lack of substantial evidence from the petitioner, essentially declaring President Yoweri Museveni winner of the February 18th elections.

According to the judgment, there was no evidence of noncompliance to the electoral laws by both President Yoweri Museveni and the Electoral Commission.

Justice Katureebe also said the arrest of Mbabazi in September 2015 as he headed to Mbale for a consultation meeting was unjustified and highhanded.

Prof Kanyeihamba however says the judges should have carried out their own investigations and audit of the results other basing on the weaknesses of the petitioner and responses of the defendants given the gravity of the case;

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will at a later date make public the decisions made by each of the nine judges regarding allegations made by the petitioner.

While delivering the ruling yesterday, the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe said that due to the short time frame to hear the case and pass judgment, they were not in position to give detailed reasons for their findings on each of the allegations made by  former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi. He says this will be done after three months.

Political analysts too have spoken out on yesterday’s court ruling.

One of them is Prof Sabiiti Makara of Makerere University, who says the margin of votes between Amama Mbabazi and President Yoweri Museveni was too big and could not warrant a re-count even though there were anomalies.

And unlike the other opposition political parties, the Uganda Peapole’s Congress (UPC) president Jimmy Akena has Congress welcomed yesterday’s court ruling saying they respect the court’s decision.

However, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) maintains that only an independent audit of the February presidential elections can resolve the current stand-off over the disputed results.

The FDC spokesperson Ssemujju Nganda says they respect but do not agree with court’s decision.

Story By Judith Atim & Stephen Mbidde