Don’t rely on past judgements, Byamukama tells court


2016 elections petitioner Amama Mbabazi’s lawyers made their final submissions in Supreme Court on Tuesday.

It was the second day of the hearing of the presidential petition in which he challenges the results of 2016 elections.

Mbabazi’s youthful counsel Jude Byamukama in a submission asked the court to determine whether the elections were substantial, purely based on whether the respondents (Yoweri Museveni, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney General) convince it that the election should be upheld, despite its various flaws.

“It’s incumbent upon the successful candidate and organiser [of the election] to prove the irregularities didn’t affect results,” the youthful lawyer told court.

Byamukama said the current approach doesn’t give court the latitude to be able to inquire whether the election was fair.

He dwelt on whether the non-compliance with the law affected the election’s final outcome.

“If the winner got the required majority after law is abused, numbers become irrelevant,” Byamukama argued.

Byamukama says past Supreme Court rulings (2001 and 2006 involving Kizza Besigye) set a nearly impossible-to-meet and restrictive test in trying to determine that election irregularities substantially affected the election outcome.

“Look here…,” he appealed.

The Chief Justice Bart Katureebe interjected: “No, I’m not looking there. We’re not some malwa group” sending the court into bouts of laughter.

“I call upon court to reconsider the manner in which the presidential petition is being handled,” Byamukama was not to be discouraged.

Byamukama said he expected court to ask electoral commission to bring the biometric voter verification machines for an expert to show how they operate.

“It’s our contention that in evaluating the petition regarding substantiality, you move away from the approach of the previous to decisions.”

He added: “Nobody knows what was tallied and where it was tallied from,that is our complaint . It renders the whole exercise a fuss.

He noted that an aggrieved petitioner must be given a chance to bring as much information as possible for the court to properly carry out an inquiry.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe was quick to point out that given the constitutional 30-day time frame, “If it was an ordinary trial, it would be different.”

He adjourned the case to today Wednesday.

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