Uganda court upholds President Museveni poll victory

Thursday March 31 2016

Lawyers at the Supreme Court confer shortly after Uganda's highest court dismissed the presidential election petition on March 31, 2016. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI

Nine judges of the Uganda 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.

The court 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 NRM 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 team of nine judges heard and decided on the petition over 30 days.


The court noted that there was non-compliance with the principles of free and fair elections in some cases such as interference by resident district commissioners, arrests of opposition candidates, unequal media coverage of presidential aspirants, especially by the state-owned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation.

“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,” CJ Katureebe said.

The court also faulted as “gross incompetence and inefficiency” the failure by the Electoral Commission to deliver voting materials in time especially in areas near its headquarters such as Kampala and Wakiso districts.

The nine-judge bench, however, said 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.