Museveni lawyers oppose amendment to Kyagulanyi’s presidential petition

Museveni’s lawyer Esau Isingoma, NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba together with Kyagulanyi’s lawyers Anthony Wameli and Geoffrey Turyamusima at the Supreme Court after the President was served papers ahead of the elections petition. COURTESY PHOTO/URN

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Lawyers representing President Yoweri Museveni in a petition challenging his re-election have indicated that they intend to challenge amendments to the presidential petition filed by their counterparts from the National Unity Platform [NUP].

The team representing the NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine filed an amendment to their initial petition indicating that Museveni was not qualified to campaign for the presidency while still holding office as the Head of State, Head of Government, Commander in Chief and chairperson of the National Security Council.

He adds that because Museveni was the incumbent, he abused the presidency by commanding or directing forces under his command, control and authority such as the Special Forces Command, Uganda People’s Defence Forces, Uganda Police Force, the Internal Security Organisation, Resident District Commissioners, Local Defence Units and Special Police Constables to brutalize, torture, maim and assault him, his agents and supporters. He adds that the forces also interfered with the electoral process to his benefit.

Kyagulanyi also alleges that Museveni used his powers as the president to spend government resources for the purpose of campaigning when he caused the disbursement of resources during the election period to the ‘EMYOOGA’ poverty eradication initiative solely to influence and win support of the beneficiaries. These and other acts he says created insecurity and seriously compromised freedom, fairness and voter turnout in the 2021 presidential election.

But Oscar Kihika, the Director Legal Affairs at the National Resistance Movement (NRM) says the ruling party is equally putting up an objection to the amendment. Kihika however said that the action by Kyagulanyi and his lawyers to petition court cannot be discredited because they are exercising their Constitutional rights.

“We are informed about the amendments made by the petitioners and on Tuesday, this application will be heard. Our team is following the matter and will accordingly respond to the amendments,” he told journalists at the NRM headquarters in Kampala.

In the initial petition filed on Monday last week, Kyagulanyi listed 26 grounds to prove that Museveni was not validly declared the winner of the January 14, 2021 election and called upon the highest court in the land to invalidate the results.

Some of the arguments in the petition are that the Attorney General neglected or refused to amend or cause the amendment to the relevant laws which would ensure a free and fair election as directed by the Supreme Court in the Amama Mbabazi 2016 presidential election petition.

He also faulted the Electoral Commission [EC] for arbitrarily, irrationally and indefinitely banning election campaign meetings in Kampala, Jinja, Kabale, Kalungu, Masaka, Tororo, Luwero, Wakiso, Mukono, Buikwe, Buvuma, Mukono, Kayunga, Mbarara, Kabarole, Fort Portal city, Kasese and Kazo. According to Kyagulanyi, this frustrated his right to associate, assemble and interface with the electorate among others.

The respondents in the petition including the Attorney General, Electoral Commission [EC] and the president-elect lawyers have since made their responses to the filed petition ahead of the pre-trial conference on Thursday. In the pre-trial conference, the parties to the petition will review and agree on the grounds that need the court’s pronouncement.

A team of 40 lawyers from five law firms have been set up to represent the President-elect Yoweri Museveni. They however will all use the address of K & K Company Advocates which is the lead law firm for Museveni in this case.