Mbabazi election petition thrown out

The Supreme Court of Uganda has dismissed the Presidential Petition filed by the Go Forward Presidential Candidate, Amama Mbabazi challenging NRM’s candidate Yoweri Museveni’s victory in the February 18th 2016 elections.

The petition was heard by a panel of 9 judges led by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe who read out the ruling.

Supreme Court judges

Speaking shortly after the ruling was made the minister for the presidency Frank Tumwebaze has congratulated the president saying it has dismantled what he calls deceptive propaganda.

He says the country should now move on in the spirit of reconciliation.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party president Norbert Mao who was part of the Go Forward team says although they respect  the court’s decision, they do not agree with it

For the Chairman of the Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, the stability and progress of Uganda should be the paramount consideration that guides our every action in these post-election difficult days.

He adds that without electoral reforms to streamline the electoral process, there will more such petitions in future.

FDC’s Dr Kiiza Besigye says the ruling was expected, but the election was not subjected to an overall audit.

Earlier, the Chief Justice pointed out that the Electoral Commission confirmed in its submissions that by the time it announced the winner of the presidential elections it had not yet received results from 1,787 polling stations, representing 1,0 57,728 registered voters.

He says the second respondent justified its actions saying the first respondent had already emerged as clear winner with more than 50% and had to comply with the constitutional requirement to declare a winner within 24hrs.

The Chief Justice however, notes that the second respondent did not provide credible explanation why the remaining results had not been sent at the time.

He also notes that the detention of the petitioner who was also candidate en route to Mbale during campaigns was unjustified and high handed.

The Chief Justice has also noted although the petitioner claimed that his agents were denied access to polling center, the absence did not in any way affect the final tally of the votes cast at these centers.

Justice Katureebe however says that having carefully considered the affidavits in support of the petitioners alleged they found that the agents were indeed denied important information.

The court has also ruled on six issues raised by Amama Mbabazi including whether there was noncompliance of the presidential elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act respectively, whether election was not conducted in accordance with the law, whether alleged illegal practices were committed by first respondent who is President Yoweri Musievni personally or with his consent among others.

Court also noted that former Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi failed to adduce sufficient evidence to convince Court on a number of issues he cited in his election petition to the Supreme Court.

According to the judgment being read by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, there was evidence of noncompliance to the electoral laws by both President Yoweri Museveni and the Electoral Commission.

Mbabazi, in his petition alleged that the Electoral Commission abdicated its duty of properly compiling and securing the national voters register, and that the commission irregularly retired the 2011 registere and purported to create another one using data compiled by the ministry of internal affairs for purposes of issuing national Identity cards.

Former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi petitioned the court seeking a re-count of votes from the February 18th election in some districts and an order to nullify Museveni’s victory.

Mbabazi sued Yoweri Museveni as a candidate, Electoral Commission and Attorney General of Uganda Fred Ruhindi.

The petition was heard by nine justices led by chief justice Bart Katureebeare to rule on the matter.

The other judges are Jotham Tumwesigye, Esther Kisakye, Stella ArachAmoko, EldardMwangushya, Lillian Tibatemwa, Rubby Opio Aweri, Augustine Nshimye and Faith Mwondha.