Presidential candidate, Amama Mbabazi, is taking President Yoweri Museveni and Uganda Electoral Commission to the International Criminal Court for electoral crimes.
In a notice issued by Mbabazi’s lawyers, Fred Muwema and Severino Twinobusingye, EC Chairman Badru Kiggundu, is notified of the intention to refer a complaint to the ICC concerning the harassment and intimidation of their client.
The lawyers say they wrote to Kiggundu on November 11, 2015 reporting cases of disruption of Mbabazi’s campaign rallies in Masaka and Mukono but never got any response.
Museveni supporters disrupting Amama rallies
In Masaka where Mbabazi started his rallies, NRM supporters leaning towards the incumbent gathered outside a bar owned by a one Jolly Rwakanyengyere to protest Amama’s presence in Masaka town.
The next day, a demonstration against Mbabazi was staged in Mukono town by NRM supporters wearing Museveni T-shirts.
The police is led by Siraj Bakaleke never arrested any of the supporters who camped at Satellite Beach hotel in Mukono town to demonstrate the presence of Amama.
This week, a ruling party chopper carrying Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde who is part of President Yoweri Museveni’s 2016 campaign team, landed at Booma grounds in Fort Portal where Amama was scheduled to hold a rally.
The incident saw Amama supporters leave the stadium angrily before he could even arrive to address them.
Earlier, Kabarole RDC Steven Asiimwe and a group of crime preventers were accused of defacing Amama posters and replacing them with those of Museveni.
Even when he arrived at Booma grounds, Mbabazi’s rally was once more interrupted after a wire connecting the generator to his public address system was suspiciously removed by suspected NRM supporters.
Mbabazi told his supporters who waited patiently despite the disruption that “these people [Museveni supporters] have tried to disorganise us. They have been flying a chopper around the town, intimidating you and even came here and pulled out a wire from the generator and poured water. But this provocation and intimidation must stop.”
In Hoima, numerous announcements were played on radio stations urging locals to keep away from Mbabazi’s rallies and instead wait for the visit of President Museveni.
Mbabazi opts for ICC
Mbabazi’s lawyers say it has become a fashion for EC to ignore their client’s complaints saying this was inexcusable.
“The disruption of our clients rallies, defacement if posters and intimidation/harassment of his supporters continued unabated in Hoima on the 16th November, 2015, fort portal on the 17 the November and Kasese on 18th November 2015.”
“The stark images of an intrusive candidate Museveni helicopter at the Booma grounds in fort portal which was deployed to intimidate voters and antagonise our clients; rally that day has still not evoked any concerns from the commission.”
The lawyers say High Court, when they appealed, directed them back to EC which must entertain and determine electoral complaints.
“Since or client has tried but failed to access justice in Uganda, from either the electoral commission or other institutions that should serve it, he shall refer his complaints to International Criminal Court [ICC] and seek justice there.”
They quoted article 17 of the Rome statute of the ICC 2002 which Kenya based on to file for an electoral violence case at The Hague.
They cited the case of the Darfur war crimes case for which Sudan president Omar al-Bashir still faces arrest.
“This is the same basis upon which our client’s complaints relating to electoral violence/crimes shall be referred to ICC.”
They say the disruption of Amama rallies, intimidation, torture, destruction of property, arrest and imprisonment if his supporters across the country constitute various crimes under the Rome statute 2002.
The notice says criminal liability will be visited on all the perpetrators of those crimes like the police, RDCs, crime preventers, NRM district registrars and other security operatives.
“On the part of the electoral commission, its officers who have incited, been complicit to or facilitate the commission of those electoral crimes will also be assembled before the ICC for the investigation and prosecution.”
The lawyers gave Kiggundu a 7 days ultimatum to work on Mbabazi’s complaints or they file their case at The Hague.
“In the event of non-compliance we are under firm instructions to refer the matter to the ICC for investigation and prosecution.”
“Our client shall not wait for the reign of terror on his candidacy and the electorate to escalate beyond redemption before taking the necessary preventing and remedial measures.”
The letter is copied to the officer of the prosecutor, The International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.