The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under Article 104 provides for redress to an aggrieved candidate in a presidential election. Under this Article, an aggrieved candidate may Petition the Supreme Court for an order that a candidate declared by the Electoral Commission elected as president was not validly elected. A Petition lodged under this Article should be lodged in the Supreme Court registry within ten days after the declaration of the election results.
After lodging the Petition, the Supreme Court bears a duty to inquire into and determine the Petition expeditiously and declare its findings not later than thirty days from the date the Petition is filed. The Constitution also envisions a scenario where a Petition is filed out of the prescribed time. Under this scenario, the candidate elect shall conclusively be taken to have been duly elected as president. The same occurs where the Petition having been filed by a candidate is dismissed by the Supreme Court; the candidate declared elected shall still be taken to have been duly elected as president.
Following an inquiry by the Supreme Court as mentioned above, the Supreme Court may choose to either dismiss the Petition, declare which candidate was validly elected or annul the election.
In a scenario where an election is annulled, the Constitution provides that a fresh election shall be held within twenty days from the annulment date. However, if after a fresh election is held another petition succeeds, the presidential election shall be postponed and upon the expiry of the term of the incumbent president, the speaker shall perform the functions of the office of president until a new president is elected and assumes office.
In addition to the above, the Constitution only waives presidential immunity when a president-elect is sued in court to challenge his or her election as president.
The Constitution does not provide for the procedure to be used when challenging an election; however, it gives Parliament the powers to make laws necessary for purposes of this Article including laws for grounds of annulment and rules of procedure. Some of the laws that Parliament has passed into law include the; Electoral Commission (Amendment) Act 2020; the Political Parties and Organizations(Amendment) Act 2020; the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 2020; and the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 2020.
It is important to note that the standard of proof in an election petition is a balance of probabilities and the burden of proof is on the Petitioner to prove their allegations.