One of the candidates who sought to end Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s thirty years in power in last month’s presidential vote filed a petition on Tuesday seeking to nullify Museveni’s victory due to widespread irregularities. Museveni, 71, who came to power in 1986 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, won the Feb. 18 vote with 60 percent of the votes. Former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, Museveni’s ally-turned-challenger, won less than two percent of the vote, but has accused Uganda’s security services of intimidating candidates and has questioned how the votes were tallied. Opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, who won 35 percent of the vote but has dismissed the tally as fraudulent, missed Tuesday’s deadline, with officials from his party saying Besigye’s repeated detentions had made it impossible to mount a challenge.
Mbabazi’s lawyer, Severino Twinobusingye said that delays in getting ballot material to constituencies, which delayed the voting process for hours in some places, improper supervision of voting, and voter-bribery had all tainted the results. “The offences committed and the non-compliance with the law substantially affected the result,” he said, adding the court should annul the results and hold “another election.”
The European Union’s observer mission said the vote had been conducted in an “intimidating” atmosphere, while the United States has voiced concerns about Besigye’s frequent detentions.
Under Uganda’s electoral laws, a loser in a presidential election has ten days from the day the results are announced to lodge a challenge in Uganda’s Supreme Court.