The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo who is heading the panel of nine judges said that, according to the law, Kyagulanyi has a right to withdraw his petition at any time. He, however, said this must also be done in accordance with the dictates of the same law.
Court has adjourned the hearing of an application filed by Robert Kyagulanyi
Ssentamu, the former National Unity Platform-Presidential candidate withdrawing
his electoral petition until it’s published in the Uganda Gazette. A Gazette is
the official weekly newspaper paper, in which all government decisions and
bills among others are published before they take effect or become law.
addressing a press conference at his office in Kampala on Monday this week,
Kyagulanyi said he had lost interest in his petition because of what he called
open bias exhibited by the Court. He cited the
refusal by the Supreme Court justices to accept amendments to his petition and
the decision to deny him a chance to file additional affidavits to back his case.
Kyagulanyi also demanded albeit informally the recusal of three justices
including Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, the Chief Justice, Mike Chibita and Ezekiel
Muhanguzi because of their previous relationship with President Yoweri Kaguta
Tibuhaburwa Museveni, the first respondent to the application. And for
Muhanguzi specifically, he alleged that he had a familiar relationship with the Security
Minister, Gen Elly Tumwine. All these, Kyagulanyi said, make them incapable of
determining his case fairly.
morning, Kyagulanyi formally filed an application in the Supreme Court asking
to withdraw the petition. The court was set to hold a conferencing
session to agree on the issues to be determined in the main application. However,
before the session could begin, Kyagulanyi’s lead lawyer, Medard Lubega
Sseggona said he had filed an application seeking to formally withdraw the
petition and asked the court to guide him on how to proceed. “We know there
are some processes that have to be followed. We seek your guidance on that
before we go to the petition,” Sseggona said.
said they wanted to inform the court on Monday but didn't succeed to do so because
by the time they were ready, court had closed. The Attorney General
William Byaruhanga, who is the third respondent to the application, said they
were ready to proceed with the normal business but the court had to first entertain the
application to withdraw the petition. “We
were supposed to be here for conferencing but there is an application to
withdraw the petition. We have been served this morning,” Byaruhanga said.
The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo who is heading the panel of nine judges said
that, according to the law, Kyagulanyi has a right to withdraw his petition at
any time. He, however, said this must also be done in accordance with the
dictates of the same law. According to
the law governing presidential election petitions, to withdraw a petition, the
petitioner has to write an application and swear an affidavit him/herself and
his lawyer supporting it stating clearly the reasons for their decision to
withdraw the petition.
Kyagulanyi didn’t attachany affidavit from his lawyers.
“We will have that Affidavit today, a copy
will be put on the notice board, and the [court] Registrar will also cause it
to be put in the official Gazette. Once the notice comes in the Gazette, we
will inform you when to proceed. This is all about the importance of the
presidential election petition. It's not handled like other matters. Even
getting out you have to go through the process,” Owiny-Dollo said.
He called upon Kyagulanyi’s lawyers this time round to keep within the
timeframes set by court. In the two applications that Kyagulanyi lost, his
lawyers failed to file the necessary documents within the timeframe they agreed
upon with the court.
//Cue in: “Subsequent to that…
…able to proceed”.//
said if Sseggona is able to serve them with the affidavits supporting the
withdrawal of the petition today, they will be able to respond to them before
the end of Friday. Court then set Saturday this week as the deadline to submit
all the necessary affidavits from the applicant and the respondents and the
Owiny-Dollo said the parties should be ready to proceed with the hearing of the
application by Monday provided the Gazette is out. He adjourned the court sine die meaning; there
is no set date for reconvening. Speaking to journalists after the court
session, Sseggona said that they filed the application to withdraw the
application based on the plan, saying ignorant people should not have anything
else to say about it.