Controversy as Bobi Wine asks Supreme Court to overturn election results

Wine vs Yoweri Museveni
Carousel photo of NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine [L] and the NRM presidential flag bearer Yoweri Kaguta Museveni [R]

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The National Unity Platform [NUP] presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine has petitioned the Supreme Court seeking for the annulment of the election victory of National Resistance Movement [NRM] presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni.

Kyagulanyi filed the petition on Monday 1, January 2021 through five law firms led by Lukwago and Company Advocates. The other firms are Pace and Company Advocates, Sewakambo and Company Advocates, Wameli and Company Advocates and Kiwanuka, Kanyango and Company Advocates.

The respondents in the petition which will be determined in 60 days include Museveni, the Electoral Commission [EC ]and the Attorney General. 

Kyagulanyi is challenging the election results of the January 14 polls in which EC chairperson Simon Byamukama Mugenyi announced Museveni as the winner with 58 per of the total votes followed by Kyagulanyi with 35 per cent. The presidential race attracted 11 candidates with Museveni polling 5,851,037 votes against Kyagulanyi’s 3,475,298 votes. 

On January 28, Byabakama released the final tally of the results showing that Museveni garnered an extra 191,861 votes – pushing his final tally to 6,042,898 votes while Kyagulanyi got an extra 156,139 votes pushing his final tally to 3,631,437 votes. 

But Kyagulanyi disputes the results and argues in his petition that the election was invalid on grounds that it was not conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the laws governing elections such as the constitution, the Presidential Elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act.

As such, Kyagulanyi argues that the non-compliance with the said laws affected the final outcome of the results. For instance, he says in his affidavit that on several occasions and in several parts of the country, the army and police prevented him from carrying out nationwide consultations in preparation for his nomination as a presidential candidate.

Due to the security actions, Kyagulanyi alleges that he was frustrated in the entire election process because his agents were arrested, some murdered while others were abducted. He contends that he was personally pepper-sprayed, intimidated and also that security destroyed his campaign posters before causing violence. 

Evidence before the Supreme Court also shows Kyagulanyi accusing the EC of having arbitrarily and unlawfully issued campaign guidelines which hindered a free and fair campaign to his disadvantage and only enforced the said guidelines selectively to favour the incumbent Museveni.

Kyagulanyi also accuses Museveni whom he describes as a master of violence of committing acts of bribery by providing or causing the provision of money and other gifts to voters with the intent to cause them to vote him (Museveni) or refrain from voting him (Kyagulanyi).

Kyagulanyi asks court to permanently ban Museveni from future elections due to perpetually engaging in election malpractices.

At least 4 of the last 5 presidential elections have ended up in court with the judges admitting election fraud but claiming it was not enough to overturn the final tally. 

For the Attorney General, Kyagulanyi faults him for having allegedly refused to amend the relevant laws which would ensure a free and fair election as directed by the Supreme court in their orders arising from the previous presidential election petition.  

The Supreme Court in 2016 following yet another presidential election petition of Amama Mbabazi against Museveni, issued ten key ‘commands’ to be considered so as to have free and fair elections in future.  

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These included amending the time for filing and determining petitions, amending the laws regarding the nature of evidence to be used, the time for holding fresh elections, donations during the election period and involvement of public officers in political campaigns among others.  

The Attorney General has since complied with a few of them and failed on the majority. Now, Kyagulanyi wants the Supreme Court to order for fresh elections and issue a permanent order restraining the army and intelligence services as well as Resident District Commissioners [RDCs] from involving themselves and interfering with the electoral processes in future.

Kyagulanyi also wants the Attorney General to be directed again to cause amendments to the relevant electoral laws to comply with the observations and directions of the Supreme Court in the previous presidential election petitions to enable internationally recognized principles of free and fair elections.