Lawyers representing President Yoweri Museveni in a petition challenging the results in which he was declared winner of the 2016 presidential elections have today started their defence.
The lawyers among them Kiwanuka Kiryowa and Didas Nkurunziza are responding to a raft of issues tabled before the Supreme Court by lawyers for petitioner John Patrick Amama Mbabazi.
The issues include allegations of voter bribery and other electoral malpractices, and the petitioner wants court to annul the announced results of the Feb 18 elections.
Museveni, the 1st Respondent, is jointly sued with the Independent Electoral Commission, (IEC), whose chairperson Eng Badru Kiggundu was subjected to cross-examination by Muhammad Mbabazi, the lead counsel for the petitioner on Monday.
And today, while responding to allegations that the respondent bribed voters by paying out Shs250.000, counsel Nkurunziza said ‘suspicion is not sufficient to accuse one of bribery and the claim of someone claiming to have been bribed is not enough’.
Tabling an affidavit sworn by National Resistance Movement (NRM) Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba, counsel Nkurunziza argued that the said money was for facilitation of the activities of the NRM in the villages.
“The money was for party activities; no political party can survive without facilitation of party activities,” he told the nine-panel bench led by Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe.
He also challenged allegations that the 1st Respondent, Yoweri Museveni gave out hoes to the people of West Nile as an inducement for them to vote for him.
Further, according to Nkurunziza, the petitioners did not adduce any affidavit evidence to support the allegation of hoes being given out as bribery.
“There was no evidence from Amama that candidate gave out hoes to influence voting and therefore allegation is false,” Mr Nkurunziza said.
Nkurunziza further submitted that the said hand hoes were given to the people of West Nile as part of a government programme, and then tabled an Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) policy statement of 2013 to support his argument.