Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert, the former presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform-NUP has ordered his lawyers to withdraw a petition that he had filed in the Supreme Court challenging the outcome of the January 14, 2021, presidential election. The election was won by the National Resistance-NRM candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Addressing a press conference this afternoon at his office in Kamwokya, Kyagulanyi said he cannot continue being part of what he called a mockery of justice. The news comes just two days after the Supreme Court dismissed his application seeking to file evidence to support his petition. In a majority ruling of eight Justices to one, the court declined to grant the application. Kyagulanyi had been given up to February 14 to file evidence supporting his application however, by the end of that day he had filed only 53 affidavits.
The following day, the Supreme Court registry refused to receive another 137 affidavits prompting Kyagulanyi’s lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona to file an application seeking leave of court to file those applications. Lawyers for President Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General all opposed the application arguing that it will affect the 45-day timeframe in which the court had to hear and determine his application.
This dismissal came on the heels of another that sought to amend his petition to introduce more grounds challenging the elections that were also dismissed. With these dismissals and claim that the judges were biased, it became obvious to Kyagulanyi that the case had suffered a stillbirth hence withdrawing it was the most ideal thing to do. In his address, Kyagulanyi said as much.
He added that now that he has withdrawn from the formal court, he was taking his petition to the court of public opinion. However, he didn’t elaborate on what this kind of court looks like.
One of his lawyers who asked not to be named, said they are currently working on an application seeking to withdraw the case. The Supreme Court rules state that when a petitioner loses interest in the petition, he can file an application seeking to withdraw it stating the exact reasons why he is taking that step. The application is then heard by the court and can either be allowed or not. “We are working on it and we hope to file it before the end of today,” the lawyer said.
Yesterday, THE NRM Director for Legal Affairs Oscar Kihika warned Kyagulanyi not to withdraw the petition. He said if he did, together with the other two respondents, they will slap on him legal fees that would be so crippling that he will never file such applications in the future. However, Kyagulanyi said he was not moved by such statements. He said that he was willing to pay any price including death when he chose to stand against President Museveni.