Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The National Unity Platform [NUP] president Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine has instructed his lawyers to withdraw the presidential election petition which he had filed in the Supreme Court, challenging President Yoweri Museveni’s victory in the January 14 general election.
“We are withdrawing from the courts but we are not opting for violence. We are withdrawing the case from Mr Owiny Dollo’s court,” announced Bobi Wine, who recently accused three justices on the panel of nine that was set up to determine his petition.
Mr Kyagulanyi particularly asked Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, whom he accused of having worked as Mr Museveni’s defense lawyer in 2006 when he was similarly sued for another disputed election, Mike Chibita, who, he accused of working as Museveni’s private legal secretary for 7 years and Ezekiel Muhanguzi, who he said is a close relative of Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine a self- confessed “regime sycophant.”
Bobi Wine who filed the petition about two weeks ago, says the case will now be taken to the public court since Ugandan courts have failed to show that they are independent but instead continue to work for President Yoweri Museveni. He says the people of Uganda will have the final say.
Bobi Wine’s petition withdrawal comes a day after President Museveni, Electoral Commission [EC] and Attorney General filed their 185 affidavits in response to the 53 grounds that NUP legal team had raised to prove that the election was rigged, and wasn’t free and fair.
Bobi Wine’s lead lawyer Medard Sseggona had told court that the state had made it difficult for them to gather evidence after they arrested, killed, bribed some of their polling agents. The chief justice Owiny-Dollo told Kyagulanyi to go ahead with ‘Plan B’ if he so wishes but advised to take it out of court.
‘Plan B’ was coined by former Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye as an alternative judicial remedy and avenue to what he called meaningless elections and biased courts.
Bobi Wine had also lost out in the same court when his application to have the filing deadline extended was dismissed by the judges.
Bobi Wine faces heavy financial implications
On Sunday 21st, February 2021, lawyers of the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] said that Bobi Wine faces heavy financial implications if he dares to withdraw the petition challenging Mr Museveni’s victory from the Supreme Court.
“I hope his [Kyagulanyi] lawyers are advising him about this action of his because to withdraw the petition, there are specific provisions to be considered. So his casual remarks, if they are true, then they should realise that it is not a simple thing,” Mr Oscar Kihika, the director of the NRM legal department told journalists at the NRM party secretariat offices in Kampala.
“So this decision has to be taken not lightly. Obviously if he withdraws, he can be rest assured that as lawyers for the respondents we shall go after Hon Kyagulanyi for the costs if he chooses to take that course [of action]. That is for sure,” he added.
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and two justices of the Supreme Court last week refused to recuse themselves from hearing the petition as Bobi Wine had requested.
Mr Anthony Wameli, one of Bobi Wine’s lawyers had earlier revealed that his client would be willing and ready to cover the said costs if the petition was withdrawn.
“That is a given; [that] once a matter is withdrawn, there are costs and one is expected to pay. I don’t think my client has a problem with paying the costs. My client [Kyagulanyi] is aware of it,” Mr Wameli said.