News / Africa

    Uganda Opposition Claims Police Seized Evidence of Election Fraud

    FILE - Ugandan riot police stand close to dejected opposition supporters to prevent them from demonstrating, shortly after the election result was announced, in downtown Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    FILE - Ugandan riot police stand close to dejected opposition supporters to prevent them from demonstrating, shortly after the election result was announced, in downtown Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    James Butty

    Former Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said Ugandan police Wednesday broke into his lawyers' offices and seized computers and documents containing affidavits of witnesses to electoral fraud in the country's February 18 national poll.

    Mbabazi, who was the presidential candidate for the Go Forward Team, is challenging President Yoweri Museveni's re-election in Uganda's Supreme Court, claiming widespread election fraud. His legal team was to present evidence to the Court on Wednesday, but Mbabazi said the theft of witness affidavits has complicated the process.

    “First of all, it meant that we were not able to meet the Supreme Court deadline of filing the evidence today, and although we will be going there Thursday for a conferencing meeting, it will be very clear that we would have failed to meet that deadline because the evidence has been taken away by the police,” Mbabazi said. 

    Mbabazi said witnesses saw men in uniform break into the law offices. "There were at least four eyewitnesses.  It was police in uniform, police in civilian clothing, and the military as well. So it was a big force,” he said.

    Mbabazi also said the police have been arresting his supporters and potential witnesses.

    The Ugandan police strongly denied Mbabazi’s allegations and said in a statement Wednesday they have mobilized a team to investigate the alleged break-ins. Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the suspected “break-ins could be an insider job for propaganda value.”

    International election observers said Uganda's February 18 election was marred by irregularities, including the late delivery of polling materials in opposition strongholds, some incidents of violence and a government shutdown of social media.

    Museveni has been in power since 1986. Previous election victories in 2001 and 2006 were also challenged in court as fraudulent.   

    Museveni has denied the allegations.

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