Uganda Elections 2006: 'We shall show our people how to fight...'
Supreme Court(2006).

Uganda Elections 2006: 'We shall show our people how to fight...'


In his first statement after the Court dismissed his petition, Besigye warned that his petition is likely to be the very last Presidential Elections petition that the Supreme Court judges will ever preside over.

By Gideon Munaabi
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First published: April 7, 2006


He may be facing treason charges, but Forum for Democratic Change leader, Col. (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye has warned of possible use of violence following a Supreme Court ruling on the petition he filed challenging the February 23 presidential polls.

The High Court begun this week to hear the case in which Besigye and 22 others are accused of treason and concealment of treason, the charge they deny. The government alleges that after losing the presidential election and petition in 2001, Besigye started a rebel group.

In his first statement after the Court dismissed his petition, Besigye warned that his petition is likely to be the very last Presidential Elections petition that the Supreme Court judges will ever preside over.

"For this, history will hold their Lordships responsible because subsequent petitions are likely to be addressed to courts similar to the one in which President Museveni found confidence in 1981," he said.

President Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986 through a guerilla struggle that started following the fraud in the 1980 presidential elections in which the Democratic Party is said have won but the ruling Uganda People's Congress at the time turned the result upside down.

Besigye said today, that all that has been achieved in over 20 years will be lost. "The long and short of this election, petition and judgement is that Uganda is right back to square one, after 25 years," he said. The FDC leader said that there is no doubt that this judgement has re-enforced the already strong sense of apathy and despondency in the electoral and petition processes.

He said that the FDC Party adduced enough evidence in court to prove that the 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."

The FDC leader noted that 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," he said.

He said that in addition to the Presidential Elections Act being so grossly tilted in favor of the electoral offenders as demonstrated above, intimidation and harassment of petitioner's lawyers and witnesses, especially upcountry had a significant impact on the final judgement.

Besigye however said that as a petitioner and as FDC, which sponsored his candidature, they are satisfied that they did what they 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;" he said.

He said that the party is 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 was 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 the spirit and letter of the constitution's first Article," said.

As a way forward, Besigye said that his party shall vigorously fight the unfair and undemocratic political dispensation in Uganda until the essential reforms are achieved as well as 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," he said in a statement.

He said that since 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, president Museveni's government is illegitimate.

"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," he advised.

He said that President Museveni should 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 Husseins of this world," he said in a five page statement.

By Gideon Munaabi
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First published: April 7, 2006
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Gideon Munaabi is a journalist and public relations practitioner with Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. He has been and continues writing widely for different publication locally and internationally. He is a founding member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd and is currently the chairman of the organisation.