Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The legal team of the National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has defended its application to amend their presidential election petition challenging the victory of the incumbent president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Kyagulanyi’s lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona told the nine-member panel of Supreme Court Justices led by the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo that the amendment is necessary as it will enable court to carry out effective investigations into all controversial matters in their petition.
Sseggona explained that the amendment is not seeking to bring in any new evidence but to add onto the illegalities that were committed by the Electoral Commission, Museveni and the Attorney General during the just concluded electoral process.
According to Sseggona, after Kyagulanyi’s house arrest, he came across a number of illegalities including voter bribery by Museveni that he wants to bring to the attention of court for investigations.
He argued that his client was illegally placed under house arrest yet he was legally mandated to file his petition within fifteen days after the announcement of the January 14th presidential election results.
He told the Supreme Court that the ten days his client spent under house arrest consumed most of his time and asked the court to allow him to amend the petition seeking to overturn Museveni’s victory if justice is to prevail because this is the only opportunity the president can be sued.
Museveni’s lawyers led by Ebert Byenkya asked the court to dismiss Kyagulanyi’s application to amend the petition saying the law governing presidential election petitions does not allow for such. He said the law only allows for the filing of the petition, serving the petition within two days, filing answers to the petition within three days, asking for particulars if any and final hearing.
He emphasized that there is no allowance for amendment of the presidential petition as each step has a fixed schedule. Byenkya also said the role of the Justices is not to investigate the matters as claimed by Kyagulanyi’s lawyers but to deliver judgment and asked them not to take the court on a fishing voyage.
By the time of publishing this story, the court was yet to hear from the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General who are respondents to the petition. Court has granted each party 30 minutes to make their submissions to the application.
The other justices are Stella Arach Amoko, Opio Aweri, Esther Kisakye, Paul Mugamba, Faith Mwondha, Percy Tuhaise, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, and Mike Chibita. Museveni was declared the winner with 6,042,898 votes representing 58.38% of the total votes cast.
Kyagulanyi came second with 3,631,437 representing 35.08% of the 10,744, 319 votes cast.