With exactly a week to the general election, a Court of Appeal judge has queried what he called a ‘broader’ test for the Supreme Court to annul any contested presidential election. Justice Remmy Kasule wondered why the Parliamentary Elections Act allows court to annul a parliamentary election on a lower test of ‘balance of probabilities’ yet the test of annulling a presidential election has to be to the ‘satisfaction’ of the court, meaning the standard of proof is higher. Alluding to the 2001 and 2006 presidential elections case, Justice Kasule quoted retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki and some other justices who held that the then aggrieved candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, had not proved his case to the satisfaction of the court.
The verdict of the Supreme Court meant that although the court found some electoral malpractices, the same could not substantially affect the final result warranting overturning Mr Museveni’s victory.
“In my considered view, a uniform standard of proof, whereby court is satisfied of the ground(s) to set aside an election petition, should be prescribed by Parliament for all elections whether presidential, parliamentary or local governments.
This will facilitate the courts to apply the same parameters of standard of proof… ,” said Justice Kasule while presenting a paper to senior justices of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal at training in readiness for the election petitions.