Uganda Poll Petition Faces Setback as Lawyer Offices Burgled

  • Computers, documents related to legal challenge said missing
  • Attorney says robberies an attempt to derail court action

A Ugandan legal petition challenging last month’s re-election of President Yoweri Museveni faces a setback after the offices of two lead attorneys were burgled, one of the lawyers said.

Fred Muwema said there were signs of forced entry at his office in the capital, Kampala, and computers and documents relating to the petition, filed on behalf of presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi and alleging electoral fraud, were missing. The break-in and that at the other lawyer’s office have been reported to police, Muwema said Wednesday by phone.

“That is a setback for our case since you need to assemble a lot of evidence,” he said. “The calculation is to affect the progress of the petition.” Kampala’s police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, said investigations into the incidents have begun.

Museveni, 71, who’s ruled Africa’s biggest coffee exporter since January 1986, won the Feb. 18 election with 61 percent of the vote, according to the Electoral Commission. Kizza Besigye, who was second with 35 percent and is under house arrest, and Mbabazi, third with 1.4 percent, are among four of Museveni’s seven challengers who rejected the results.

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