Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine has filed a legal challenge in the country’s Supreme Court, seeking cancellation of the results of last month’s presidential election that handed incumbent Yoweri Museveni the victory.
The former rebel leader, who has led the East African country since 1986, was declared the winner of the January 14 polls with 59 percent of the vote.
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Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was said to have won 35 percent.
“We want the poll cancelled and repeated,” said George Musisi, lawyer for Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP), on Monday.
“There was outright ballot-stuffing, there was intimidation of NUP agents and supporters, some were arrested on the eve of the election, there was pre-ticking of ballots.”
The filing showed the judiciary could be trusted to adjudicate over the dispute fairly, Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party told Reuters news agency, adding the petition did not have much chance of succeeding.
“Kyagulanyi is trying to give his supporters a soft landing but he knows he lost genuinely,” said Rogers Mulindwa, NRM’s spokesman.
Bobi Wine has accused Museveni of staging a “coup” in the election and has previously urged his supporters to protest the result through non-violent means.
Human Rights Watch said the lead-up to the elections was characterised by widespread violence and human rights abuses.
Internet was shut down across the country shortly before voting started. It has since returned, though access to social media is blocked.
The 76-year-old Museveni has dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, calling the election “the most cheating-free” since independence from Britain in 1962.
Museveni has long been a Western ally, receiving copious aid and sending troops to regional trouble spots including Somalia to fight armed groups.
But Western backers have become increasingly frustrated at his reluctance to cede power and crackdowns on opponents.
Bobi Wine had channelled the anger of many young Ugandans who view Museveni as an out-of-touch autocrat repressing dissenters and failing to create jobs.