Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the former National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate has threatened to withdraw his petition from the Supreme Court challenging the victory of his rival and incumbent President, Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni.
Speaking to reporters at the NUP headquarters at Kamwokya on Tuesday for the first time since they were taken over Election Day by the police, Kyagulanyi said the Supreme Court has shown an unprecedented level of bias against him. He highlighted several cases to show what he called the bias of the Supreme Court against him.
He said some of the nine justices including the Chief Justice, Alphonso Owinyi-Dollo, Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Mike Chibita can’t be independent jurors because they have in the past worked closely with President Museveni, who is the first respondent to the petition.
On Monday, City lawyer, Hassan Male Mabirizi filed an application in the Supreme Court asking the Chief Justice Owinyi-Dollo to recuse himself from the case because he was once Museveni’s lawyer. In 2006, Dollo was one of the lawyers who represented President Museveni in the presidential petition filed by Dr. Kizza Besigye challenging Museveni’s victory.
Asked whether he supports Mabirizi’s petition, Kyagulanyi said he welcomes any efforts by anybody to challenge Museveni’s victory in court. He, however, clarified that any challenges to the petition will be made by what he called a robust legal team of the party.
Kyagulanyi also complained about the decision by the Supreme Court to decline to grant him leave to amend his petition. He said this exposed it as a biased court because in the past, the same court has allowed presidential petitioners to amend their petitions or introduce new evidence in the middle of the hearing.
Kyagulanyi also said he was not satisfied with the court decision denying him a chance to file affidavits claiming that he was out of time. The NUP president also wondered why the court would only have an open hearing for one day instead of following the precedent it had set by hearing arguments from the petitioner and the respondents for weeks.
This all, he said, is testimony that the court is not fair towards him. Asked why he’s lamenting about the unfairness of the court now, yet in the past, he has publicly stated that he didn’t expect justice from the Supreme Court because it’s another of Museveni’s tools just like the Electoral Commission, Kyagulanyi said amidst those fears of bias, he expected them to do their job of dispensing justice.
Kyagulanyi said he has asked the party’s lawyers to make a formal application to the court laying down their demands that the court must obey or they withdraw their case. Antony Wameli, one of the lead counsels of Kyagulanyi declined to say whether they have such instructions or not.
“Can you talk to Counsel Sseggona or party spokesperson Ssenyonyi?” Wameli said. Our efforts to speak to Medard Sseggona who is the lead lawyer for the petitioner were futile as he didn’t answer our repeated calls to his known number. Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP spokesperson was still attending a meeting by the time of publishing this story.