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Mabirizi petitions court to halt proceedings in Kyagulanyi’s presidential election petition

City lawyer Male Mabirizi addressing the media

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | City lawyer Male Mabirizi has petitioned the Supreme Court seeking to halt all the proceedings in the presidential election petition filed by former Presidential   Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.

Mabirizi in his application filed on Monday wants the hearing of the case in which Kyagulanyi had wanted to overturn the victory of the incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni stopped until the determination of his appeal that is before the East African Court of Justice.

The appeal also filed on Monday is challenging the decision of the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo to decline to recuse himself from hearing Kyagulanyi’s petition.

On February 23rd 2021 Mabirizi who was not a party to the petition of Kyagulanyi appeared in court and openly asked the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo to step aside from hearing the petition of the first runner up in the January 14th polls.

Mabirizi argued that Owiny-Dollo was not going to render justice in the case since previously in 2006, he was one of the lawyers who represented the first respondent Museveni in the presidential election petition that had been filed by Dr Kizza Besigye.

Court also heard that in the recent past when Kyagulanyi’s application was pending, Owiny-Dollo met Museveni twice and any reasonable member of the public cannot be sure if he was not being compromised to rule in his favor.

But the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo in his brief ruling declined to step down arguing that the application lacked merit. He also promised to give his detailed reasons for refusal on notice.

Being dissatisfied with the decision of Chief Justice, Mabirizi today petitioned the East African Court of Justice challenging the same and filed another application before the Supreme Court asking them to halt proceedings until the determination of his case in the East African Court.

He wants the East African Court to restrain Owiny-Dollo from taking part in determining Kyagulanyi’s petition until the East Africa Court of Justice decides otherwise.

In his application, Mabirizi says the Chief Justice is likely to continue to participate in the proceedings leading to termination of Kyagulanyi’s petition before determination of his reference which will render its useless.

Mabirizi contends that he will suffer irreparable damages if the Chief Justice is not restrained from proceeding with Kyagulanyi’s application to withdraw the petition.

According to Mabirizi, his reference raises grave matters as far as Uganda’s compliance with the treaty that Established the East African Community and in Contravention with the principles and the provisions in the protocol on the establishment of the East African Community Common Market.

Asked whether the East African Court case if allowed will not affect the 60 days’ timeline within which the Supreme Court of Uganda is supposed to determine Kyagulanyi’s case, Mabirizi said that the East African Treaty where Uganda is a signatory becomes superior to the laws of the land.

This development has come at the time when the Supreme Court has fixed March 4 2021 to hear an application in which Kyagulanyi wants to withdraw his petition as a whole.

Kyagulanyi in the first place was not happy with the January 14 polls results and he decided to file a petition on February 1st 2021 against Museveni, Attorney General and the Electoral Commission citing a number of electoral offenses such as bribery among others.

But due to a number of factors including dismissal of his two applications one seeking to amend his petition and introduce new grounds, and another seeking more time to file additional affidavits, Kyagulanyi lost hope and frustrated, hence withdrawing his petition.

Mabirizi’s applications have been received by the two courts and they are yet to be fixed for hearing.

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