Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Former presidential candidate Willy Mayambala has written to the Supreme Court requesting that he takes over the presidential election petition filed by former National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
The spokesperson of the judiciary Jameson Karemani says that they have received Mayambala’s letter.
Mayambala who emerged last among the eleven presidential candidates after scoring 14,657 votes (0.15 percent) says in his letter to the Supreme Court Chief Justice, he objects to the withdraw of the petition by Kyagulanyi against several defendants in his petition.
“I as well write to express interest in taking on the presidential petition and seek to inherit the petition from Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and seek to be guided,” reads the letter in part.
According to his letter dated February 25, 2021, Mayambala also wants to be informed of the necessary procedures, what is required for him to inherit the petition, and if there is any chance that new evidence can be presented to the court.
“I wish to reaffirm that I presidential candidate Willy Mayambala have a great interest in the presidential petition going on and being listened to by the Honourable Court, please grant me the necessary permission to go on. I will be grateful if my request is put into consideration,” it adds.
Former independent presidential candidate Willy Mayambala has written to the Supreme court to take on and inherit #KyagulanyiPetition. Interestingly, Mayambala who attended the election tallying process at Kyambogo, previously declared the #UGElections2021 as “free and fair” pic.twitter.com/KRleb918r3
— The Observer (@observerug) February 25, 2021
Court set to listen to Mayambala
Asked to comment about the questions raised by Mayambala in his letter especially about the procedure and if new evidence can be allowed in case a new petitioner comes in, spokesperson of the judiciary Jameson Karemani declined to comment. He said it will be the decision of Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo.
Mayambala’s request comes a day after Kyagulanyi withdrew his petition. He had wanted the court to overturn Museveni’s victory on grounds that the elections were marred by several irregularities such as bribery, intimidation, violence that resulted in death among others.
But through his lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona, Kyagulanyi withdrew his petition citing six reasons including abduction, torture, harassment and intimidation of his witnesses by the respondents on the command of the two respondents President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Attorney General. The two respondents were jointly sued with the Electoral Commission which declared Museveni as the winner with 58 percent and Kyagulanyi with 35 percent of the total votes cast.
On Wednesday, the Chief Justice directed Kyagulanyi to submit an affidavit from one of his lawyers supporting the withdraw such that a copy of the application can be published in the Uganda Gazette. Kyagulanyi accordingly attached a two paged affidavit from one of his lawyers Ukasha Ssekajja and the copy is currently pending publication in the gazette. The Chief Justice promised to direct the parties on how to proceed after the publication has been made.
However, Section 61(2) of the Presidential Elections Act states that “On the hearing of the application for withdrawal, any candidate who might have been a petitioner in respect of the election to which the petition refers may apply to the court to be substituted as a petitioner for the petitioner who desires to withdraw.”
The same law also adds that “the court may substitute as a petitioner any applicant under subsection two and may further if the proposed withdrawal has been in the opinion of the court, induced by any corrupt bargain or consideration, by order, direct that any security given on behalf of the original petitioner shall remain as security for any costs that may become payable by the substituted petitioner and that the original petitioner shall be liable to pay the costs.”