Uganda: Court Orders EC to Avail Evidence of Announced Results

The Supreme court has ordered Electoral Commission to produce scanned copies of the declaration of results (DR) forms from which it declared the presidential election results at the National Tally Centre at Namboole Stadium.

Court has also asked EC to avail the clone data base of the presidential election results announced. This came after Enos Tumusiime, the Electoral Commission lawyer told the Justices of the Supreme Court that vote counting, tallying and declaration of presidential elections results by the Commission complied with the law.

Severino Twinobusingye, a member of Amama Mbabazi's legal team sought clarification from court as to which DR forms Tumusiime was referring to, since they haven't availed any evidence in court.

He said the copies of the DR forms that the Commission filed in the registry of the Supreme court were smuggled in without their notice and don't include the scanned copies from, which the final results were declared.

Twinobusingye prayed that the DR forms be expunged from the records of the Supreme court. In his response, Tumusiime said if court permitted the DR forms could be withdrawn.

Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe directed that EC provides the DR forms to the petitioner and the justices and writes to the court formally. However, Mohmed Mbabazi, the lead counsel of Mbabazi interjected, saying they had already closed their pleading and couldn't use the document but Katureebe said the documents should be delivered, saying the petitioner would be availed extra time to respond to them in case there is need.

Tumusiime said the DR forms will be delivered to court this evening. Twinobusingye explained that they want the scanned copies as well as the clones of the data base.

Tumusiime answered back saying they can't provide the clones arguing that it will undo the entire integrity of the data base and, that in any case the law, doesn't give the petitioner powers to keep the data base. Twinobusingye said EC lawyers had "lied to court" that they had earlier availed to the petitioner all the asked documents and that they had even carried away copies - a position that Chief Justice Katureebe said had now become apparent had not been the case.

On the transmission of results from the polling station to the district tally centrea and on to the national center, Tumusiime, said Electoral Commission complied with the law. He said there is no single document or evidence by the petitioner to show otherwise. He also said there were no malpractices relating to the counting of votes and that the EC also has powers to announce partial results as other results continue to be delivered.

Tumusiime said the results from the district tally centres were transmitted via the electronic result transmission and dissemination system, which is a secure network that transmits encrypted information that is automatically consolidated to deliver to the national tally. He asked what more the petitioner wants, adding that in any case it is not mandatory that the results have to be transmitted electronically.

Tumusiime also disputed the allegation that the Electoral Commission had no tally center. He said the petitioner's complaint is that they never witnessed how the information came, and asked what the EC should do when the law only mandates EC to ascertain and declare the results. He said from the final results Museveni got 5.6 million constituting 60.7 percent while Amama Mbabazi got 132,574 votes or 1.4 percent.

He asked if the petition says it is not General Museveni who won the election, then who did? Tumusiime said he is sorry to say that the petitioner didn't win, but also had no chance of winning the elections. He added that, the only candidate who got more than 50 percent, actually 60.7 percent is General Museveni and no one else.

On the alleged illegal tally center in Naguru, he said there is no allegation which is more wild than this. He said the petitioner failed to name the source of the allegation, the location of the illegal tally center nor how he got the information. He concluded by saying it is the duty of the Electoral Commission to declare Museveni elected and by so doing, the EC complied with the law.

Unlike yesterday where the first respondent (Museveni) lawyers seemed to have 'punched holes' in the petitioner's submission, today it seemed like it were the bench that 'punched holes' in the second respondent's (Electoral Commission) submissions.

On claims that the delays in Kampala and Wakiso had been caused due to a miscalculation on the part of the EC that first printed voting materials for the furthest points like Kaabong, Katureebe wondered how Mukono got itself on the delivery schedule on the same date like Arua and Nwoya yet it was clear that Mukono is not one of the furthest points. Tumusiime responded saying he did not want to "gamble from the bar".

Justice Esther Kisakye also said she found "inconsistencies" in the widely quoted affidavit of Potius Namugera, the head of technical services at Electoral Commission.

Both Museveni and the EC lawyers have based on Namugera's affidavit which claims that the verification of the voter on the biometric system takes only 30 seconds. Namugera has also said the biometric system had greatly improved the voting process. Katureebe wondered how Namugera who is based in Kampala would know about the operation of the Biometric Voter Verification Kits (BVVK) elsewhere. Katureebe asked Tumusiime whether the BVVK machines had worked at all polling stations, to which Tumusiime said that the had worked at some and failed at others. He said some had been fixed but where they failed, the voters register aided by the national ID had been used to verify voters.

Tumusiime submitted that the Electoral Commission has gone to greater length to improve the electoral process and even managed to weed out over 2.5 million 'ghost' voters since 2006.

He said the biometric system had been upgraded from the one that could only capture fingerprints of four instead of ten fingers. According to the affidavit of Joshua Wamala, the head of elections at EC, the 2011 biometric system could only capture 30 percent of voters data.

When Tumusiime said that the petitioner had not made any complaints to the EC about irregularities yet it is mandated by the law to handle them, he was asked by the bench what happens then when there are irregularities on polling day or after.

On unequal coverage by state media (UBC and New Vision), Tumusiime said they are independent organs and the Electoral Commission does not control them and that there was no evidence that the petitioner had sought for coverage anyway. He was asked by the bench, whether the law says that state media offer coverage only to those candidates that seek for the services.

SOCIAL MEDIA BLOCKADE

Tumusiime went on to say that citing that blocking of social media had affected the election results, was wrong because there is nowhere in the constitution that says that transmission of results will be through social media. He said the allegation that Museveni was "illegally" announced winner was because the petitioner was ignorant of the transmission of results process.

Source: All Africa