Court Rejects Petition to Block Museveni Swearing-In

Fredrick Ngugi May 10, 2016 at 08:15am

May 10, 2016 at 08:15 am | News

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

May 10, 2016 at 08:15 am | News

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni with a hat greeting his main political rival Dr. Kizza Besigye. Photo (www.observer.ug)

With only 48 hours left before Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is sworn in for his sixth term as the President of Uganda, the Ugandan High Court has dismissed a petition filed by two Ugandans on Monday requesting the court to temporarily suspend Museveni’s inauguration ceremony.

The two petitioners, Mr. Hakim Kizza and Mr. Moses Bigirwa, appeared before the court registrar, Alex Mackay Ajiji on Monday morning seeking an interim order to stop the incumbent from being sworn in on grounds that he has reached the legal age limit to serve as the President of Uganda.

In their petition, the pair had claimed President Museveni is 79 years old, which constitutionally disqualifies him from holding the top office in the country. The Ugandan constitution puts the age limit for presidential aspirants at 75 years.

“I verily believe that Museveni is 79 years old as he participated in the general elections of 1961 and he was a voter and staunch supporter of the late benedicto Kiwanuka when he was 23 years old,” one of the petitioners, Bigirwa declared in his affidavit.

However, court documents obtained by the local media indicate President Museveni was born on September 15, 1944, meaning he is 72 years old this year.

In their application, the petitioners had requested the court to order Museveni’s bones to be subjected to a scientific inspection to establish his real age.  

Justice Stephen Musota dismissed the petition with costs, saying it lacked merit on grounds that they didn’t have a main application filed for a permanent injunction whose status quo they would seek to protect.

US and EU Envoys Meet Museveni Ahead of His Swearing-In

The local media claims that President Museveni held back-to-back meetings with European Union and United States officials at the State House in Kampala on Thursday last week.

Sources in the State House said Museveni met with the US ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac and the head of European Union delegation to Uganda Kristian Schmidt but refused to reveal the agenda.

“The President regularly meets foreign diplomats as our development partners and the deliberations of their meetings are not for public discussion,” the source claimed.

Protests Ahead of Museveni’s Swearing-In

Since President Museveni was declared winner in the disputed February election, tension has remained high in Uganda with activists and opposition supporters staging numerous protests in the streets of Kampala.

Just last week, 18 protesters were arrested in Kampala over what the Ugandan police claimed was holding unauthorized demonstrations.

These arrests caused a storm on social media, with Uganda’s main opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye accusing the government of applying the “law of the jungle” as a precautionary measure ahead of Museveni’s inauguration.

@kizzabesigye1 said:

“Law of the jungle under way by Uganda´s IGP: Arrests as ¨precautionary measure¨ ahead of M7 swearing!!” 

Another Twitter user, @FDCUganda said:

“The arrests of Innocent people on Rukungiri is very disturbing. Uganda police continue to arrest everybody.”

The government of Uganda has also issued a warning to the local media against covering protests live, promising that failure to abide by this rule will cause their licenses to be revoked.

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