Uganda: Court validates president’s disputed re-election

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda’s top court dismissed a case that sought to nullify the results of a disputed presidential election, saying the long-time president was validly re-elected.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the cases of noncompliance cited by the petitioner, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, were not substantial enough to warrant an annulment of the vote.

The election on February 18 was marred by allegations of vote rigging, delays in delivery of polling materials in some areas, as well as a government shutdown of social media.

Many observers cited irregularities. The European Union observer mission spoke of an “intimidating atmosphere” mainly created by the government, and said the election commission lacked independence and transparency.

President Yoweri Museveni, who has held power since 1986, won about 60 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, opposition leader Kizza Besigye, got about 35 percent.

Besigye, who remains under what police call preventive detention at his home, did not file a legal challenge, saying doing so would “legitimize” what he called a fraudulent election. Besigye instead called for an international audit of the results. Museveni denied allegations of vote fraud.

Efforts by Besigye’s party, the Forum for Democratic Change, to gather evidence for a possible court case were repeatedly foiled by the police, with the party alleging harassment of its polling officials across the country.