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Bobi Wine files case at Supreme Court

Lawyers for Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine Monday filed a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge President Yoweri Museveni’s victory in last month’s election, claiming the poll was rigged.

The 38-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker came a distant second behind veteran leader Museveni in the January 14 vote that followed some of Uganda’s worst pre-election bloodshed in years.

Medard Sseggona, one of Wine’s lawyers, said “any election Museveni participates in can never be a peaceful election, can never be a free and fair election”.

“We want nullification of the election. We do not want (Museveni) participating in any future election,” Sseggona said outside the Kampala courthouse where he filed the petition.

Museveni, a 76-year-old former rebel leader who has ruled since 1986, won a sixth term with about 59 percent of the vote.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, secured about 35 percent and slammed the vote as a sham.

Under the constitution, Wine had 15 days from the declaration of results by the electoral commission to challenge the outcome.

The Supreme Court must now rule on the petition within 45 days.

Losing candidates have in the past sought unsuccessfully to overturn Museveni’s wins in court.

One of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, Museveni has won every election since 1996, almost all marred by allegations of irregularities.

Sseggona said “soldiers invaded polling stations” and stuffed ballot boxes with pre-ticket votes. Electoral registers were tampered with at other locations, he added.

“Museveni cannot be left to cheat and steal scot-free,” Sseggona said.

Museveni, however, declared the election the cleanest in Uganda’s post-independence history.

The run-up to the vote was marred by violence, and a sustained crackdown on government critics and Museveni’s rivals.

In November 2020, at least 54 people were shot dead by security forces loyal to Museveni during protests against one of Wine’s numerous arrests.

By law, Wine must prove to the court that any alleged irregularities affected the outcome of the election “to a substantial manner” — a much higher burden of proof than in civil cases.