By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
On Monday, February 22, 2021, National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine held a presser at the party headquarters in Kamwokya to address the questions that had been raised, concerning the election petition which he filed in the Supreme Court of Uganda.
In the petition, Bobi Wine alleged that President Yoweri Museveni rigged the election with the help of the Electoral Commission (EC), hence he prayed to the Supreme Court to nullify Museveni’s victory, and instruct rerun of the election without the incumbent.
In his press conference, Bobi Wine announced that he had withdrawn the petition from the Supreme Court and that he had decided to present the matter before the public court, citing a number of reasons, among them bias on the part of the Supreme Court Justices.
However, when Bobi Wine’s lawyer Medard Lubega Ssegona went to file his client’s withdrawal application today, Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo directed him to submit his written application supporting Bobi Wine’s application for withdrawal of the petition.
While formally submitting the withdrawal application to the Supreme Court today, the head of the NUP legal team Counsel Sseggona listed six reasons they based on to withdraw the case and they are as follows;
In one of the grounds, Bobi argues that his decision to withdraw the petition was influenced by several factors and not by any corrupt bargain or consideration from President Museveni, the EC, or the Attorney General who are the respondents in the petition.
“The petitioner’s decision to withdraw the petition has been influenced by the foregoing factors and not by any corrupt bargain or consideration from respondents or any other person,” reads part of the grounds for his withdrawal.
Secondly, Bobi Wine cited the continued abduction, torture, harassment, and intimidation of his witnesses by state security operatives working for Museveni, the 1st respondent and Attorney General William Byaruhanga, who is the 3rd respondent.
These respondents, according to Bobi Wine, use the Police and National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) to investigate and infringe on the privacy of his witnesses.
Thirdly, Bobi Wine says the procedural rule governing Presidential Election Petitions have been applied to disadvantage him and his petition in that his application for amendment of pleadings was disallowed, thus suffocating major grounds from being incorporated into the petition.
“The petitioner’s application for extension of time for filing of additional affidavits was disallowed thus frustrating effective prosecution of the petition,” the application reads in part.
It should be noted that soon after the election, security authorities besieged NUP offices in Kamwokya and other parts of the country, and Bobi Wine alleges that that was done on orders of President Museveni and the Attorney General’s agents.
This, according to Bobi Wine, rendered him unable to file relevant affidavits and evidence in support of the petition in time, at the time of filing his Petition.
Apart from besieging his party offices, Bobi Wine was also illegally confined in his home for over 10 days after the election, thereby losing time to file all the evidence for his petition. We recently reported that the Supreme Court declined to allow him to file additional evidence.
After hearing the submissions from Bobi Wine’s lawyers, the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, said the application to withdraw the petition will go to the noticeboard and will be gazetted before it is scheduled for a hearing.
Owiny-Dollo has since directed Sseggona to file his written affidavit supporting the application to withdraw by the closure of business today.
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