By Derrick Kiyonga
Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi's much-anticipated petition challenging the outcome of the February 18 presidential election was filed late yesterday at 5:05pm at the Supreme court in Kampala.
But the conspicuous absence of the Forum for Democratic Change team, whose candidate Dr Kizza Besigye was runner-up in that election with about 3.5 million votes, took some shine off what was supposed to be an ostentatious filing ceremony by lawyers led by Severino Twinobusingye.
According to the petition, Mbabazi contends the February 18 election was tainted with widespread bribery. He claims Museveni bribed voters in West Nile with hoes. He also cites voter intimidation, harassment and threats of arrest of presidential candidates, among other electoral offences.
Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, the FDC party president, said interference by security couldn't allow them to prepare and file their petition within the specified time. Since the election results were announced almost a fortnight ago, Besigye has been a marked man by police. He has been arrested many times and most of the time he has been confined to his home in Kasangati.
The Presidential Elections Act 2005 provides a 10-day window for whoever seeks to challenge the presidential poll results. Section 59 (2) of the Presidential Elections Act 2005 states that "A petition under subsection (1) shall be in a form prescribed by the Chief Justice under subsection (11) and shall be lodged in the Supreme court registry within 10 days after the declaration of the election results."
The results were declared on February 20. Muntu announced the party position at a Tuesday afternoon press conference after meeting behind closed doors with Besigye at his home in Kasangati in Wakiso district.
He said the party will issue an official statement on the matter and other issues they discussed with Besigye today, Wednesday morning.
The meeting was also attended by Salaamu Musumba, the FDC president for Eastern Uganda, and Harold Kaija, the FDC deputy secretary general. The respondents to the Mbabazi petition are; President Yoweri Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the attorney general.
Source: All Africa