Uganda’s opposition leader, Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi has announced he has withdrawn a petition in which he is challenging the victory of President Museveni following the January 14 presidential election.
While addressing the press on Monday, the former presidential candidate claims the bias exhibited by the Chief Justice and the refusal by court to allow him file additional evidence demonstrates what awaited him on the D-day.
Kyagulanyi said he and his team are now resorting to the court of public opinion.
Speaking to the press at NUP Headquarters in Kamwokya on Monday, Kyagulanyi noted that right from the time of filing, he has been skeptical about going to court especially on the independence of the judiciary in Uganda but decided to take the legal path with an intention to expose the judiciary.
He however said the judiciary exposed itself before he did and thus the decision to withdraw the case.
Kyagulanyi claims that most of his “strong” evidence was deliberately rejected even when the law provides for late filing. He also accused the Supreme Court for playing double standards claiming that the Supreme Court registrar allowed NRM lawyers to file on a Saturday yet rejected his evidence on the same day.
The Supreme court rejected Kyagulanyi’s additional evidence on grounds that it was filed out of time.
Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine accused the Supreme Court of utter bias citing several meetings the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo has had with president Museveni which he said demonstrates what lays ahead if he was to continue pursuing for justice in the same court.
“We watched in shock as the Chief Justice invited president Museveni for the Lawyers’ meeting and asked for favors. Since we petitioned the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice has met Museveni three times. This is an arbiter who is meeting the defendant three times at a time when a petition is before court. We say it is wrong and condemn it in the strongest term” Kyagulanyi said.
The Judiciary recently admitted that CJ Owiny Dollo met president Museveni during the opening of a new year for the judiciary, at Janan Luwum Day anniversary celebrations in State House, and during the swearing in of a newly appointed High Court Judge Justice Margaret Apiny.
Kyagulanyi claims the conduct of the Chief Justice and the act of present a budget for the activities of court is not only immoral but wrong” he added. During the meeting, Dollo presented budget estimates for judiciary for 2021/22 Financial year.
Kyagulanyi also claims amidst all other challenges, he was not given enough time to gather evidence to back up his petition referring to the time he was kept under house arrest by security agencies immediately after the January elections.
“You know I was put under house arrest for 11 days when the law allows only 15 days for a petitioner to file. It took an order of the High Court to get my freedom and embark on the petition” he stated.
Bobi Wine claims even when his lawyers explained that they were unable to gather evidence in time due to circumstances beyond their control, the Supreme Court “with a clearly biased mind” rejected the evidence. He claims the act of court to reject his evidence is unprecedented and clearly demonstrates a pre-determined attitude to block his petition.
He said most of his “strong” evidence including videos showing military personnel stuffing ballots into boxes, and those showing alteration of Decleration forms have been rejected.
Kyagulanyi also claims that he has been given a short time to submit during the hearing of the petition. He said the disturbing thing during the 2016 presidential petition of Amama Mbabazi, the same court gave the petitioner a whole week for submission while for him he has only 30 minutes to do so. He claims the intention is to deny the public to see how he exposes court.
Because that evidence was too strong and impossible to twist, they uncharacteristically rejected it. So ladies and gentlemen, we have therefore decided to withdraw our petition from their court. It is clear that the Chief Justice and his court cannot give us justice” he said.
“We are going to the court of public opinion and we shall be informing the people of Uganda our next step” Kyagulanyi noted.