PETITION: Election Observers Accused of Being Partisan – ChimpReports

PETITION: Election Observers Accused of Being Partisan

One of the applicants and FIDA Uganda's Iren Ovunji speaking to press outside the Supreme Court on Thursday

Organizations that applied to join Amama Mbabazi’s petition in the Supreme Court have been accused of being biased, online erectile partisan and thus not qualifying for amicus curiae.

About 8 organizations including Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), ask Chapter Four, Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Transparency International filed their application on March 10.
These participated in election observation under umbrella frameworks; Citizens Election Observers Network (CEON) and Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU).

The applicants were faulted on grounds of dwelling on election observation rather than legal expertise required for the petition.

Herbert Byenkya, a respondent lawyer representing Yoweri Museveni submitted that the applicants must possess structural material that’s relevant to court.

“We are not here to discuss the scope of the election observation. These applicants are in the wrong place,” he said.
Byenkya also cited the relationship between one of the applicants (Crispy Kaheru of CEON) and Kizza Besigye who is part of the democratic alliance (TDA). In his view, the relationship creates bias.

The applicants were also pinned for making statements in the past that portray the Electoral Commission as incapable of delivering a free and fair election.

“These organizations have previously produced reports saying that the EC is not independent enough to deliver a credible election. This would imply that while they set out to observe the elections, they already had drawn conclusions,” Byenkya said.

Similarly, the Attorney General represented by Mwesigwa Rukutana and McDusman Kabega who represents the EC asked court to dismiss the application.

“The applicant brings nothing useful to court to assist it in determining issues. However, these organizations can become witnesses by signing affidavits,” said Rukutana.

The applicants’ lawyers however insisted that the organizations possess valuable expertise to aid in the resolution of issues before court. They argued that the relevance of observers in an election petition is critical, making reference to former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki’s use of observers’ Reports in 2001 and 2006 petitions.

“Our prayer is that court disregards extraneous issues like blood relations, mere statements and focus on factual submissions before it. The statements these organizations made in the past were in no regard to this petition,” said Nicholas Opio, a lawyer of the applicants.


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