For Immediate release | 31st March 2016
The Supreme Court of Uganda has today Thursday 31st March 2016, dismissed the Presidential Petition No. 1 of 2016 filed by the Go Forward Presidential Candidate, Mr. Amama Mbabazi challenging NRM’s candidate Yoweri Museveni’s victory in the February 18th 2016 elections.
Notwithstanding the Court verdict, we as Ugandans have a duty to prove to the world that we are willing and able to submerge our individual and partisan preferences to the common good. We must demonstrate clearly that it is not the ambitions of Amama Mbabazi or Kiiza Besigye; neither is it the fortunes of Museveni that we are seeking to promote. The stability and progress of Uganda should be the paramount consideration that guides our every action in these post election difficult days.
Uganda as a country must take the hard lessons (brought forward through the petition) seriously and learn to approach all future elections with the 2016 experience very firmly in mind.
The greater lesson for Uganda as a nation is that we seek to improve our electoral process as a whole, based on the revelations that emerged from the court hearings. The strength of any democracy is very much determined by the credibility of its electoral process and it is in everybody’s interest that we all develop an instinctive respect for the rules and regulations set out for our elections. Never again should anybody feel tempted or emboldened to tamper with any aspect of the voting process – the registration, the verification, the casting of ballots, the counting, the tabulation or the declaration. Not again should Ugandans underestimate the influence of political processes that happen prior to an election.
Ugandans must work to ensure that there should not be any lingering questions about the legitimacy of an election and the winning candidate at the end of the process should receive the unalloyed support of all. There will always be winners and losers in an election; that is the system of governance Uganda has chosen. While it is painful to lose an election, we must strive to create systems whereby that loss is not taken with the suspicion that one has been cheated.
While the Supreme Court may have dispensed its role in view of the petition, as Ugandans, we should come together, irrespective of our political affiliations, to demand peacefully the best for our country. Uganda deserves better!
As Ugandans we should be able to look back on 31 March 2016, as yet another turning moment in the democratic struggles of our country. To some, this date may have brought a painful and difficult end to the 2016 elections. To others, it may be a watershed that beckons a new beginning. No matter what side of the divide one may be, we must unite and applaud ourselves for the (legal) way we chose to deal with our victory and our disappointments.
The team that has received the stamp of victory from Court today should not chest thump and use the ruling to clamp down on opponents. The essence of elections is to expand freedoms. In a democratic society, those who win an election should expect a level of provocation or discomfort from those that disagree with them – and that is healthy. The victors should not unnecessarily and unconstitutionally restrict the freedoms of their opponents on the basis that they disagree with them politically.
It is imperative that Ugandans take note of the decision of the highest court of our land, including those that may disagree with it.
Let us act with dignity and place the interest of our nation above that of ourselves and groups.
Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU)
Plot 1111 Lulume Road Nsambya
P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 794 444 410
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.ccedu.org.ug