National Unity Platform (NUP) principal Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine has decided to withdraw the petition he had filed in the Supreme Court challenging President Yoweri Museveni’s victory in the January 14th Presidential election.
Among the reasons Bobi Wine gave court in his application for withdrawal of the petition is bias on the side of Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, the Supreme Court’s rejection of evidence and affidavits that Bobi Wine submitted last week and the continued abduction of his supporters.
However, lawyers representing President Museveni led by Oscar Kihiika have since warned Bobi Wine that he is set to pay heavily in litigation costs and damages following his decision to withdraw the petition.
In the petition filed by Bobi Wine’s lawyers led by Anthony Wameli and Medard Lubega Ssegona, Bobi Wine challenged the results that were announced by the Electoral Commission chairman Justice Simon Byabakama, indicating that Museveni won the election after he scored over 58%, while Bobi Wine came second with over 34%.
Bobi Wine thus prayed to the Supreme Court to annul the results announced by the Electoral Commission and organize fresh elections in which president Museveni would not participate.
Last week he wrote to the same court asking Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo, Justice Mike Chibita and Justice Ezekiel Kurabiraho Muhanguzi to recuse themselves from hearing the case due to conflict of interest but they all refused.
During a pre-hearing session of the petition last week, Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo and seven other Justices of the Supreme Court rejected the inclusion of 127 affidavits onto the earlier evidence submitted by Bobi Wine’s lawyers in support of the petition.
Following the circumstances regarding the way the Supreme Court has been handling the petition ever since he filed it, Bobi Wine has today, Monday February 22, 2021, through his lawyers of Lukwago & Co. Advocates, filed in court an application to withdraw the petition.
Reasons For Withdrawal Of Petition
We have since learnt that Bobi Wine held a private meeting with his lawyers and top NUP members at his home in Magere on Sunday night, where they came up with 25 reasons why he should withdraw the petition.
The Grapevine has since established that although Bobi Wine has given court 25 reasons why he decided to withdraw the petition, the overriding ones are the following;
Bobi Wine says that chief amongst reasons for withdrawal of the petition is the Supreme Court’s rejection of evidence his lawyers filed last week, which exposed the malpractices that were exhibited in the presidential election.
He contends that ever since he filed the petition, hundreds of his followers have been tortured, many abducted and other subjected to political persecution in a bid to intimidate and scare them from going to court as witnesses.
He also told court that during the time he was put under house arrest, shortly after the election, he was barred by the police and army from meeting his lawyers and supporters such that they could gather enough evidence within the stipulated time to file the petition. He argues that court based upon the same infringement on his rights to movement to rule that additional evidence filed by his lawyers was limited by time.
Another reasons Bobi Wine gave court is the continued abductions, murder and torture of his supporters ever since the 2020-2021 electoral period started, plus the continued human rights abuses in the country being perpetrated by security forces with impunity.
He also asserts that he will not attain justice from the Supreme Court because the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo and two other Justices of the same court are in cahoots with the respondent (Museveni).
Speaking about the matter, city lawyer Peter Walubiri supported Bobi Wine’s decision, saying that it has further shown the Judiciary went to the dogs and Ugandans no longer have trust in courts of law.
“It means that NUP has lost trust in court. However, it also shows that the path court took in the first place showed that there will not be justice. The same court allowed applicants in other petitions like that of Besigye and Mbabazi to file additional evidence. But this time round, the same court denied Bobi Wine an opportunity to file additional evidence,” Walubiri said.
He added that; “The Supreme Court also rejected additional evidence yet in all other petitions they have been allowing it, even when time for filing additional evidence has expired.”
Litigation Costs And Compensation For Museveni
Our sources reveal that the meeting that sat at Magere also discussed how Bobi Wine shall meet the litigation costs and damages arising from withdrawal of the petition.
Accordingly, the meeting agreed to start fundraising immediately from NUP supporters and well-wishers both in Uganda and the Diaspora for money which will be used to settle the costs and damages that shall be awarded by court to President Museveni and his legal team.
As such, a special fund has since been created in the NUP treasury office to cater for costs and damages in the event that the Supreme Court awards the respondents of the petition the same.
However, it should be noted that the Supreme Court is yet to pronounce itself on the matter at a date that shall be communicated.
Commenting about Bobi Wine’s decision to withdraw the case, Counsel Enoch Barata, who is the head of Legal Affairs at the National Resistance Movement Secretariat and part of President Museveni’s legal team, said that it is everyone’s right to withdraw a case from court but it comes with a lot of responsibilities.
“It is his right to withdraw any case he/she has filed. However, there is a certain court process to be followed when withdrawing the case. It comes with compensating the other side and its legal team for all the money they have spent in the case.”
He added that; “However, we have not reached that level. Let’s wait and see what court decides and if that decision is taken by court, we shall have no problem with that.”
By nettl Reporter