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Uganda Opposition Leader Asks Court to Nullify Museveni's Reelection

Presidential challenger Bobi Wine speaks to the media outside his home, in Magere, near Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 26, 2021.
Presidential challenger Bobi Wine speaks to the media outside his home, in Magere, near Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 26, 2021.

Uganda's opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, best known as Bobi Wine, filed a petition on Monday contesting the January 14 reelection of President Yoweri Museveni.

Wine's lawyers said they want the court to nullify the election but also ensure Museveni, who won a sixth term in office, can never run again.

Just a little after 1 p.m., lawyers representing Wine walked to the Supreme Court and submitted volumes of documents they said prove why the January 14 election should be nullified.

Lead lawyer Medard Segona said solders were seen invading polling stations and stuffing pre-ticked ballots into ballot boxes to inflate Museveni’s vote totals.

He argues that for decades, President Museveni and his backers have used intimidation and fraud to ensure victory.

“You saw how the entire electoral process turned into a situation of terror," Segona said. "You get to the inevitable conclusion that he’s the commonest and only denominator in the electoral violence in our history. And therefore, you know that any election that Museveni participates in can never be a peaceful election. Can never be a free and fair election demanded by the constitution of the republic.”

Official election results showed Museveni winning a sixth term with 58% of the votes. Wine came in second with 35%.

Segona said Wine’s National Unity Platform party encountered challenges at every step of the election process, including the beating of Wine’s supporters and campaign officials.

The challenges continued into their efforts to file the petition.

“They were arresting, beating and torturing our coordinators, wherever they would find them with declaration forms," Segona said. "They went to where we were photocopying from. Arrested the person photocopying and took them. The same uncivilized group came and took over our offices in Kamwokya. We cannot access some of the documents. And they thought rather mischievously that way we would not be able to file this petition. I can tell you; we have filed it.”

Justine Lumumba, the secretary general of the ruling National Resistance Movement party, said their lawyer is checking through the declaration forms from polling stations, which show how many votes the party's candidates received at each station.

“We have our declaration forms for the presidential, from the National Electoral Commission. And when we are served, we shall respond,” Lumumba said.

This will be the fourth time that Museveni’s election has been challenged in court. Kiiza Besigye contested Museveni’s election after the 2001 and 2006 elections. Former prime minister Amama Mbabazi challenged the 2016 election results.

The two former friends of Museveni both lost, with the court ruling that even though there were several irregularities, they were not substantial enough to nullify the election.