The Supreme Court has allowed former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu to withdraw his presidential election petition that sought to overturn President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s January 14, 2021 re-election.
The decision by a panel of nine Supreme Court justices led by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo follows a concession from all parties to have the matter withdrawn.
In their brief ruling read by Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko, the Justices noted that upon careful consideration of the application, the authorities attached to it and arguments from both parties and after reading the law, the leave to withdraw the petition has been granted.
Arach added that the question of costs which has been a key issue of contention in today’s hearing is going to be determined in their judgement which will be given on notice.
Earlier on, Kyagulanyi’s lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona asked the court to allow the withdrawal of the petition without costs.
Court heard that in the interest of promoting rule of law, democracy, for the development of the country and to make people feel comfortable to raise grievances before court, each party should bear its own costs.
Sseggona added that Museveni was already declared the winner of the elections by the Electoral Commission (EC) which is the second respondent in this case, and to them, there is nothing else he still wants from the petitioner, this being a public interest matter.
Sseggona further told court that his client’s decision to withdraw the case was not influenced by corruption motives, the same issue which was confirmed by the respondents during their oral response to the application.
The respondents; Museveni, EC and the Attorney General didn’t object to the withdrawal but asked the court to condemn Kyagulanyi to costs basing on his behavior including uttering falsehoods, attacking the judicial officers, discussing issues before court through the media; and threatening to take his petition through the public court which they referred to as a mockery to the independence of the Judiciary among others.
The Attorney General William Byaruhanga specifically asked the court to impose some sanctions for the parties who bring matters in the court but go on discussing them in the public and the press before they are determined to their logical conclusions.
Kyagulanyi who was runner-up in the presidential poll with 35 percent had wanted the court to annul Museveni’s re-election arguing that the EC fraudulently gave him 58.3 percent of the vote.
He however lost interest in the case after he called the court’s show of bias and lack of independence. This followed the court’s refusal to allow him to amend the petition as well as to file more evidence in support of the petition.