Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation has published the gazetted notice in which former Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu seeks to withdraw his presidential election petition. The Gazette is the official weekly newspaper in which all government decisions and bills among others are published before they take effect or become law.
In an Extraordinary Gazette dated March 1 2021, Kyagulanyi’s request has been published under the General Notice number 241 of 2021 showing his name as the Applicant/Petitioner and three others who are the respondents.
They three are: Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa Kaguta, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General.
“Notice is hereby given that application has been made to the Supreme Court of Uganda for leave to withdraw the petition presented by Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert(Applicant/Petitioner) touching to the election of the office of the President Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa Kaguta who is the 1st respondent.
The notice is dated February 26, 2021 and it is signed by the Registrar of the Supreme Court Harriet Nalukwago Ssali.
Rule 20 of the 2001 rules governing presidential election petitions states that if the petitioner wants to withdraw his petition, the Supreme Court Registrar after getting the application for withdraw shall as soon as possible serve a copy of the that application to the respondents and on the Attorney General.
The rules also indicate that the copy will be posted on the Court Noticeboard and published in the gazette in line with the rules.
They also add that the Attorney General or a representative of the Attorney General may appear at the hearing and oppose the withdrawal and the court may receive the evidence of any person if the Attorney General or his or her representative considers it material.
“If the court gives leave for the withdrawal of a petition, the Court shall make a report to the Commission staying the reasons for the withdraw and the petitioner shall be liable to pay costs of the respondent”, adds the rules.
According to the Judiciary Spokesperson Solomon Muyita, once the notice for withdrawal has been put in the gazette, the process doesn’t end there. Muyita says the court has to reconvene and the hearing of the application in this case has been fixed for March 4th 2021.
Kyagulanyi filed his application for withdraw on February 24 2021 through his lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona.
Then, a panel of nine Supreme Court Justices led by the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo advised him to submit an affidavit from one of his lawyers supporting the withdraw such that; the Supreme Court Registrar can put a copy in the gazette in line with the laws governing the presidential petitions.
The Chief Justice then adjourned court until further notice.
Kyagulanyi first filed his petition on February 1st 2021 after losing the January 14 elections to the incumbent Yoweri Museveni who garnered 58 percent of the total votes cast compared to his 35 percent votes.
The first runner up wanted Museveni’s victory overturned on grounds that the election process was characterized by violence, bribery, alteration of results, intimidation among others.
However, he later decided to withdraw his petition as a whole citing several reasons such as the dismissal of his two applications one seeking to amend his petition and introduce new grounds, and another seeking more time to file additional affidavits.
The three respondents to his petition namely, Museveni, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General have since okayed the withdraw of the petition but disagreed with the reasons given by Kyagulanyi to withdraw it.
However, Willy Mayambala who came last in the same presidential elections has so far expressed interest to inherit the petition. But Mayambala was advised to first get lawyers and file a formal application.