Bobi Wine Wants Uganda Vote Nullified and Gen. Museveni Barred From Future Run

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Presumptive winner of Ugandan presidential vote, Bobi Wine. Photo: Facebook.

Uganda’s popular presidential candidate—and some say presumptive winner—member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, a.k.a. Bobi Wine today filed a petition in the supreme court, the highest appellate court here challenging Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s alleged win in the bloody Jan. 14 election.

The voting was marred by violence against opposition supporters by state security agencies and the rigging so massive that several Western countries that formerly supported Gen. Museveni, including the U.S., are now openly talking about sanctions. 

Attorneys representing Bobi Wine filed papers asking the court to nullify the election and to bar the Ugandan dictator of 35 years, Gen. Museveni from participating in any future election in Uganda. They contend that every election Gen. Museveni has participated in has always been violent, and marred by rigging. Bobi Wine, 38 years old, signed millions of young new voters and they’re believed to have carried him to victory. Eighty percent of the Ugandan population is under the age of 35. Gen. Museveni is officially 76 but is believed to be much older. 

"Any election Museveni participates in can never be a peaceful election, can never be a free and fair election so we want nullification of the election,” Medard Lubega Segona, the lead lawyer to Kyagulanyi Sentamu said at court today after filing the petition. “We do not want Museveni participating in any future election. Soldiers invaded polling stations and stuffed ballot boxes with pre-ticket votes. Electoral registers were tampered with at other locations, Museveni cannot be left to cheat and steal scot-free.”

The Election Commission, headed by Simon Byabakama, is hand-picked by Gen. Museveni. On Jan. 16, the Commission gave Gen. Museveni 59% of the vote to Bobi Wine’s 35%, even though the internet was blocked, meaning the vote tallies from the countries 34,714 polling stations could not have been transmitted to the Commission’s tallying center. Most Ugandans believe the figures were manufactured. Uvote, an independent voting App whose data were accompanied by official declaration forms showed Bobi Wine leading Museveni, 72% to 25%, based on number from about 13% of polling stations. 

The election was marred with unprecedented violence against opposition candidates and their supporters, mainly Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform (NUP), and Patrick Oboi Amuriat of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), before, during and after the vote. Gen Museveni switched off the entire internet and the country was under a complete black out from the entire world from Jan. 12, two days before the vote. On Nov. 18, a protest arrested after Bobi Wine was arrested. The state admits that 54 unarmed civilians were shot and killed—the actual figure is believed to be more than 100. 

Bobi Wine had only 15 days from the date the Election Commission announced the “results” to file a challenge. He previously denounced the EC’s “results” as “a joke.”

The Supreme Court must deliver its determination within 45 days as required by the constitution. Skeptics wonder whether judges, all appointed by dictator Museveni, can deliver an impartial judgment.

Crispin Kaheru, an analyst, said it’s difficult for a successful appeal because by law Bobi Wine is required to prove that any alleged irregularities affected the outcome of the election in a substantial manner, a much higher burden of proof than in civil cases. The courts don’t look at the entire electoral process—including the mass killings during the campaign— but only at events on polling day, and the declaration of results day.

Bobi Wine has said his team has documentary evidence—including videos—of vote stuffing and ballot pre-ticking by soldiers, and voter intimidation by soldiers. 

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