Uganda: Judgment Day Tomorrow in Amama Mbabazi Petition

The Supreme court will tomorrow deliver its ruling in the petition in which Amama Mbabazi wants the reelection of President Museveni nullified.

Museveni was declared winner of the February 18 election, with 60.7 per cent of the vote, followed by FDC's Kizza Besigye with 35.37 per cent, and independent candidate Mbabazi with 1.43 per cent.

But Mbabazi petitioned court, accusing Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General of conspiring to give Uganda a fraudulently-elected president. At the conclusion of the hearing two weeks ago, chief justice Bart Katureebe said judgment would be delivered by March 31.

And last evening, the spokesman of the judiciary, Mr Erias Kisawuzi, confirmed there was no change.

"Yes, that is still the position; and as for the time, we shall go by the usual time at which court has been convening - 9:30am," Kisawuzi told us by telephone.

CONTENTIOUS ISSUES

The nine justices of the Supreme court have at least five major issues to decide tomorrow, including whether there was noncompliance with the provisions of the Presidential Election Act and the Electoral Commission Act during the 2016 elections and whether the elections were not conducted in compliance with the two laws.

Should the court find the respondents culpable, the justices will then have to decide whether any breaches of the law affected the results of the elections in a substantial manner.

Judges will also pronounce themselves on whether President Museveni committed electoral offences - personally or with his knowledge and consent. Court will then decide whether the petitioner should get any of the reliefs sought.

Arguably the most significant prayer by Mbabazi is for the judges to set aside Museveni's victory and order fresh elections. Mbabazi's lawyers contented, among other issues, that Museveni was not validly elected because there was no tallying of results from across the country. They argued that the Electoral Commission simply made up the results while the actual results remained on declaration of results (DR) forms.

But in closing arguments, the respondents' lawyers argued that Mbabazi's lawyers relied on provisional results to paint a picture of discrepancies between actual results on the DR forms and results on the tally sheets.

Tomorrow the country will know which side the justices believed. In petitions challenging both the 2001 and 2006, the court found that the elections were rigged - but concluded that the rigging was not substantial enough to alter the final result.

Source: All Africa