2016: A Dramatic Political Year Uganda Will Live to Remember

Dr Kizza Besigye's Defiance campaign needs to be redefined according to DP's Norbert Mao

February 18 was another historic day for Uganda as the incumbent; Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was elected before being declared winner 2 days later as the president and Commander in chief of the army.

This was the climax of the 3 months journey across the country canvassing votes that would in the end ensure a mandate to lead Uganda for the next 5-year elective term.

The then Electoral Commission Chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu announced Museveni as the winner of the 2016 presidential elections with 5, visit web 617, hospital 503 votes, a percentage of 60.7.

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FDC’s Dr Kizza Besigye, Museveni’s main opponent and a four- time presidential contender  garnered 3,270,290 representing 35.37 per cent of the total vote whereas highly hyped and  former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi got a mere one per cent.

Museveni Victory Challenged

Meanwhile, a few days after being declared winner of the 2016 polls, another obstacle had shown up in Museveni’s new term; opposition members challenged his election.

Supreme Court Judges hearing the electoral petition filed by candidate Amama Mbabazi

Supreme Court Judges hearing the electoral petition filed by candidate Amama Mbabazi

“Article 104 of the Constitution provides for challenging the election. Nobody is conclusively elected unless that process of challenging the results has been disposed of or the option has not been taken up,” Dr. Besigye told journalists at his home in Kasangati, Wakiso district, a few days later.

The biggest opposition party FDC on whose ticket too had rejected the poll results claiming they had been manipulated.

Through the defiance campaign that he had announced, the opposition strongman had vowed to fight on to ‘liberate his votes’ and he was eventually arrested as he tried to leave his home and storm the electoral commission offices in Kampala to pick declaration forms for the election results.

Meanwhile, a few days to the elapse of the stipulated time for petitioning an election, the third placed, Amama Mbabazi formally challenged President Museveni’s election in the Supreme Court citing voter bribery and multiple voting as some of the flaws in the February 18 polls.

““We want court to declare that Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was not validly elected as president and his elections annulled, “said Mbabazi in the petition to the Supreme Court through his lawyers led by Severino Twinobusingye and Asuman Basaalirwa.

Evidence Goes Missing

A few days after filing their petition, files containing the main evidence in the case went missing after unknown thugs broke into the chambers of Fred Muwema and Muhammad Mbabazi both the former Prime Minister’s lawyers.

However, this turned into a ping pong game between police and Mbabazi, both accusing each other of masterminding the break-in at the Wandegeya and Kololo offices.

“They were 30 in number and were dressed in police uniform,” Mbabazi told journalists. “They came from the nearby (Wandegeya) police station and raided our lawyers’ chambers. I am dismayed by what happened because such a thing has never happened in this country not even during Iddi Amin’s time,” Mbabazi retorted.

The then Police spokesman Fred Enanga denied any police involvement in the burglary accusing Mbabazi and his team of ‘playing games’ aimed at discrediting the police.

On March 31, a Supreme Court panel of 9 judges led by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe dismissed Mbabazi’s petition saying there was no evidence to cause annulment of the February 18 polls.

“We have found there was some non -compliance but we are not satisfied it affected the results substantially,” Katureebe said.

“Yoweri Museveni was declared president in accordance with article 104 of the constitution and section 59 of the presidential elections act. Accordingly, this petition is dismissed and we make no orders to costs.”

Defiance Campaign

The Forum for Democratic Change introduced weekly prayers at the party headquarters and demonstrations among a series of other activities termed as the defiance campaign, protesting against the February poll results.

Meanwhile, it was now a few days to President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony which was scheduled for May 12 and opposition strongman, Dr.Kizza Besigye was continuing with his defiance campaign.

On May 11, Besigye was arrested in the city center after being police security at his home. He was later airlifted and detained at Moroto government prison.

He was later charged for outing a video in which he sworn himself as president.

There was again confusion on how the opposition strongman left his highly guarded Kasangati home only to be arrested in the city centre with police saying they were monitoring his movements and that he never beat their security.

“Even when he reached the city centre, we didn’t panic because we had him in our sight. That is why we took long to fire teargas to disperse the crowd. It didn’t take us by surprise,” the then police spokesperson Fred Enanga told journalists.

Besigye later dispelled this claim saying he had used tricks to beat police security at his home.

Museveni Sworn-in

On May, 12,Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was sworn-in as president at a function attended by a number of presidents at Kololo independence grounds.

At the swearing-in attended by Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Omar El Bashir(Sudan),Uhuru Kenyatta(Kenya),Jacob Zuma(South Africa) and other presidents, Museveni blasted the ICC as a’ bunch of useless people’ as his fellow leaders clapped in support.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin in a special way sent ban envoy to represent him at the swearing-in function at Kololo.

Museveni would later announce this term as ‘Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo’ a Kiswahili stamen for term of serious work.

Aine Resurfaces

Former head of security detail for Amama Mbabazi , Christopher Aine resurfaced after months of hiding following violence in Ntungamo in which the former Prime Minister’s supports beat their counterparts for President Museveni.

Police eventually placed a Shs 20 million bounty on him before Mbabazi took to court asking government to produce him.

Meanwhile after over 4 months, Aine resurfaced after allegedly handing over himself to Gen.Salim Saleh.

Besigye Grabbed from Plane

In another dramatic scene former FDC presidential candidate Dr.Kizza Besigye was back in the news after spending over a month in Europe and US.

As he touched down the airport, he was whisked away from the steps of the Kenyan Airways plane and driven to his home in Kasangati.

Addressing journalists at his home, Besigye narrated that policemen dressed in Civil Aviation Authority attire grabbed him from the plane stairs ,bundling him into a waiting vehicle and driven at break-neck speed to his home.


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