Today, is the fourth day of hearing the 2016 election petition by the Supreme Court in Kampala.
The petition was filed by independent Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi, challenging the presidency of Yoweri Museveni, who was declared the winner on February 20th 2016, by the Electoral commission.
Today, Electoral Commission- EC has defended itself on accusations of late delivery of voting materials in Kampala and Wakiso district, during the presidential elections, claiming that although voting delayed, no one was denied his or fundamental right to vote.
In their Affidavit, the EC maintains that the voting process complied with the universal declaration of Human Rights, the Constitution of Uganda and the presidential election act that enabled registered voters to cast their votes on February 18th.
Enos Tumusiime, the EC lead counsel told justices of the Supreme Court mid-morning today that, although the Presidential Elections act mandates Electoral Commission to deliver polling materials to district returning officers within 24 hours, in the event that the materials reach within 24 hours, it makes it difficult for the returning officers to supply presiding officers with the materials in time.
Tumusiime said that notwithstanding, EC delivered the materials in time in all district, save for Kampala and Wakiso district, adding that they candidly apologized for the delay and extended the voting period.
He denied claims that the late delivery of voting materials was done deliberately, adding that EC put mitigation measures in place so that no voter was disenfranchised. “Nonetheless voter turnout in Kampala and Wakiso was higher in 2016 compared to 2011,” he said.
The Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe asked Tumusiime, why voting materials for Kaabong, which is far off and Mukono district, which is near the EC headquarters were delivered on 15th February and yet those of Arua, which is even further off, and Kampala Central where the EC based, were delivered on 17th.
In his response, Tumusiime said there were certain exceptions, adding that as far as they are concerned there have been no complaints in that regard.
Justice Eldad Mwanguhya tasked Tumusiime to explain why delivery of voting material and voting went on smoothly in 110 districts, some of which have very few voters and not in Kampala and Wakiso with over 2 million voters.
Tumusiime replied saying EC has apologized for the mess and also done everything possible to ensure that no a single voter was disenfranchised.