Uganda Elections 2006: Besigye's Statement
Besigye statement on the dismissal of his 2006 presidential elections petition.
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First published: April 7, 2006
The Supreme Court on Thursday April 6, 2006 dismissed Col. (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye's petition challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2006 Presidential elections. Ultimate Media brings you a full statement by Besigye on the ruling.
Judgement on the Presidential elections' petition of 2006
The Presidential Elections Petition of 2006 was actually lodged against the judgement of many FDC members who felt that it was a futile exercise considering the Supreme Court ruling in the 2001 Petition that left a serious loss of confidence in the petition process.
However, that notwithstanding, the leadership of FDC was convinced that petitioning was important for the following reasons:
- Expose and resolve the inconsistencies between the Presidential Elections' Act and the Constitution with the aim of improving the legal framework under which the petition would be heard. While the constitution provides for a petition challenging the validity of an election; one that is not conducted according to the law and/or is not free and fair; the Presidential Elections Act requires that the petitioner proves that the illegalities and malpractice had a 'substantial effect' on the election results.
- Provide the Supreme Court Judges with an opportunity to show that they had reflected on the 2001 Presidential Election Petition that was generally regarded as having to show the FDC's commitment to a peaceful and lawful political path.
The Constitution and legal framework are not only grossly unfair to the petitioner but favor perpetrators of electoral malpractices. The petitioner has only ten days to prepare and lodge the petition (compared with the Parliamentary Elections where the petitioner has 30 days within which to lodge a petition)
- Assemble evidence from all over the country, not just to show that offences were committed but that such offences were a magnitude that would substantially affect the final results,
- The law requires that all evidence must be adduced through sworn affidavits, hence the petitioner must have many legal teams spread throughout the country to prepare the affidavits
- This requires a petitioner to mobilize a very large outlay of logistical and financial resources, in a very short time; a serious hindrance to the petitioner, considering that it comes immediately after the presidential elections.
In addition to the Presidential Elections' Act being so grossly tilted in favor of the electoral offenders as demonstrated above, the following factors had a significant impact on the final judgement:
- Intimidation and harassment of petitioner's lawyers and witnesses, especially upcountry.
- Orchestrated and concerted media campaign by the state, ridiculing the petition, with the view of prejudicing the judicial process, until the Supreme Court ordered them to stop, at the prompting of our lawyers.
Irredeemable despondency and apathy
We adduced enough evidence in court to prove that this election was not conducted in accordance with the law, and that it was not free and fair. It is unfortunate that their Lordships have once again not found it fitting to cancel the election that is glaringly invalid and certainly not free and fair, as required by the constitution.
There is no doubt that this judgement has re-enforced the already strong sense of apathy and despondency in the electoral and petition processes. It quite likely that this will be the very last Presidential Elections Petition that their Lordships will ever preside over, and for this, History will hold their Lordships responsible for this because subsequent petitions are likely to be addressed to courts similar to the one in which President Museveni found confidence in 1981. The long and short of this election, petition and judgement is that Uganda is right back to square one, after 25 years.
- As a petitioner and as FDC which sponsored my candidature, we are satisfied that we did what we had to do; we performed our duty as responsible citizens of this country. We exposed irregularities, electoral malpractices and offences; we exposed the Constitutional and Legal impediments to free and fair elections, we provided another opportunity to the Supreme Court to influence the tortuous democratization process in Uganda.
- We are very disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision that the election which is not free and fair as required by Article One of the Constitution; one that s not conducted in accordance with the law or the principles laid down in the law can be allowed to stand. We shall therefore, not associate ourselves with or respect this decision. This decision clearly contradicts the very essence of our constitutional order; by in particular contradicting spirit and letter of the constitution's first Article.
- We shall vigorously fight the unfair and undemocratic political dispensation in Uganda until the essential reforms are achieved.
- We shall vigorously organize FDC right from the grassroots, to continue to grow and become a formidable party.
- We shall vigorously mobilize all Ugandans to channel the popular discontent towards action that will weaken and dislodge the dictatorship, through all legitimate means available. We shall be calling for boycotts, peaceful demonstrations and other political and legal actions. We shall show our people how to fight for their rights in a way that black mambas and tear gas can't harm them.
The unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court is that:
- There was non-compliance of the provisions of the Constitution, PEA, and the Electoral Commission's Act, in the conduct of the 2006 Presidential Elections.
- There was non-compliance with the principles laid down in the constitution, the PEA and the Electoral Commission ACT; and that specifically, the principle of free and fair elections was compromised.
The Court also expressed grave concerns regarding the involvement of the security forces in elections, intimidation, violence ad partisan harassment; massive disenfranchisement of voters; partisan conduct of electoral officials and lack of voter education.
This means that the election of President Museveni is illegitimate and he can only form am illegitimate government. Even at this late hour, President Museveni can still redeem himself by stepping down and allowing our country a chance to have a legitimate government.
We strongly advise President Museveni and his government to look around the world and see that there is no more room for impunity and that every dictator eventually faces his day of reckoning. They should look and see the Charles Taylors, Slobodan Milosovechs and Saddam Hussein of this world.
I wish to thank my legal team, who have worked so hard under very difficult circumstances, moreover, free of cost (pro borno); risking their lives, livelihood and those of their families.
I thank our witnesses for the courage and patriotism they exhibited, at great risk to themselves.
I thank all FDC supporters who have stood by me though thick and thin, and who continue to assure us of their commitment to fight for democracy in Uganda.
I thank all Ugandans of good will towards their country and recommit to work tirelessly until Uganda is good and fair to all who live in it; al for
ONE UGANDA, ONE PEOPLE
Col. (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye
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First published: April 7, 2006
Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye Kifefe (born April 22, 1956, Rukungiri, Uganda) is a former colonel in the Ugandan army, president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party and was a challenger in Uganda's 2001 presidential elections. He was also a challenger in the 2006 elections.