Accessibility links

Ugandan Opposition Leader Challenges Election Results


Ugandan opposition politician Kizza Besigye is challenging the results of the country's February 23 elections, alleging that the ruling party committed electoral fraud and other offenses to win.

One of Besigye's lawyers, Sam Njuba, describes to VOA the case, which is in its second day of deliberations in court.

"We have got three grounds," said Mr. Njuba. "One is about the commission of electoral offenses. Another one is about failure by electoral commission to observe the principle of fairness. [The] third one is numbers: if we can prove substantially [that there was a] sufficient number of people who did not vote or who were rejected."

Njuba alleges that members of the ruling party led by President Yoweri Museveni bribed voters, stuffed ballot boxes, wrongly called Besigye a "military deserter," and committed other offenses to win the election.

Ofwono Opondo is the director of information with President Museveni's party, called The Movement. He tells VOA he thinks Besigye is a sore loser, and that he has no case in court.

"If Besigye is saying the elections were rigged, were they only rigged where he lost, or even where he won, because where he won he won overwhelmingly," he explained.

Besigye was widely seen to be the leading contender against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in the country's February 23rd elections. President Museveni captured 59-percent of the vote, while Besigye took 37-percent.

Besigye, who heads the Forum for Democratic Change party, also ran against President Museveni in the 2001 elections.

The opposition politician returned to Uganda last October after more than four years in exile. He was arrested the following month and charged with rape and treason in High Court and terrorism and illegal possession of firearms in military court. He was jailed throughout most of the campaign period.

Although Besigye was cleared of rape, he still faces other charges, both in High Court and potentially in a military court.

It is widely believed that the charges were politically motivated, designed to prevent Besigye from campaigning fully and to ruin his reputation, charges that the ruling party denies.

XS
SM
MD
LG