By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
On the very day of the presidential elections on January 14, 2021, National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine came out to say that the election had been rigged before the Electoral Commission (EC) even announced the results.
This announcement led to the musician-turned-politician and his wife Barbie Kyagulanyi being put under house arrest for over 10 days, and it took a court order from the High Court for the security agencies to vacate his house in Magere, Wakiso District.
Soon as Bobi Wine regained his freedom of movement, which, according to the High Court had been illegally taken away from him, he and his lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court of Uganda to nullify President Yoweri Museveni’s election victory, and request a rerun of the election without the incumbent. The petition was filed on February 1, 2021.
There has been a change of heart and mind. In a press conference that has been broadcasted live on his official Facebook page, Bobi Wine has withdrawn his election petition from the Supreme Court citing among other things, the judiciary’s lack of independence.
Bobi Wine contends that Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and eight others on the Supreme Court bench that are supposed to hear his case and give a ruling on the same are biased, and are poised to work in favour of his opponent, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Reasons for the withdrawal of the petition
In the press conference, Bobi Wine has listed a number of the reasons that have forced him and his legal team to withdraw the case from the Supreme Court and they are as follows.
Refusal of the court to accept his additional evidence
Bobi Wine has said that his team has requested the Supreme Court several times to file additional evidence to back up his case, but he has been denied that privilege, even when there has not been an amendment in the law that governs that procedure.
Bobi Wine cites that in the same kind of electoral petition filed against President Museveni by then Go Forward presidential aspirant and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi in 2016, the Supreme Court allowed him to file additional evidence after his first petition, but wonders why he has been denied that chance this time around.
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo meeting President Museveni
Bobi Wine alleges that Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and other judicial officials met with President Museveni several times, and made requests from him to make improvements in the judiciary. Bobi Wine contends that this is “immoral.” However, over the weekend, the Judicial Service Commission released a statement refuting all claims that the judges had secretly met the President.
Abduction and torturing of NUP supporters
Another reason Bobi Wine cited in the withdrawal of his petition is the continued abduction and torturing of NUP supporters before and after the general elections. The NUP president said that some of these supporters were in possession of election declaration forms that would have been used as evidence to back up his election rigging claims.
“On that note, therefore, we have decided to withdraw our petition from the Supreme Court because it is clear that the Chief Justice and his team are not willing to give Ugandans justice,” Bobi Wine said.
He added, “We are withdrawing because the courts have failed to show that they are independent. We are telling you that we are taking this matter to the court of the people. The people of Uganda will decide their destiny.”
Bobi Wine ended his statement by reiterating his non-violent position regarding this matter.
“We are not violent people. We are withdrawing from the court but we will not resort to violence. We are going to the people’s court, the people of public opinion and we will be informing Ugandans.”
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