The National Unity Platform President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has formally filed a notice of withdrawal of his petition against Yoweri Museveni in the Supreme Court of Uganda.
On Monday, February 24, Kyagulanyi announced that he had instructed his lawyers to withdraw his court case challenging the presidential election results that handed Victory to Incumbent President Kaguta Museveni.
Bobi Wine rejected the results of the January, 14 election and said he believed victory was stolen from him. He petitioned the Supreme Court asking it to cancel the results on several grounds including widespread use of violence, falsification of declaration forms among other electoral irregularities.
“We have decided to remove our case from Owiny Dollo’s court, we shall now take the matter to the court of public opinion but we are not opting for violence, the way Museveni sought to challenge the victory of Obote in 1980 and later withdrew the case and chose to go to the bush. We have also sought the same since the circumstances are not any different,” Kyagulanyi told journalists on Monday at the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya.
His announcement came a few days after the Supreme Court dismissed an application in which he wanted to file additional evidence in the petition after the elapse of the February 14 deadline.
On Sunday, lawyers representing the three respondents including Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General filed affidavits in response to the 53 affidavits filed earlier by Kyagulanyi’s lawyers.
However the NUP principal publicly announced that he would withdraw his petition from the Supreme Court, his lawyers will now have to follow the matter up to make it formal with the court’s registry.
On Wednesday, Feb 24 Kyagulanyi’s Lawyers applied to court to withdraw his petition challenging the presidential elections.
Kyagulanyi says he has been forced to withdraw the petition because he thinks the courts are not fair and will not be fair.
“The petitioner’s witnesses are being abducted, tortured, harassed and intimidated by security operatives at the behest of the first (Museveni) and third Respondent (Attorney General) agents,” he states in the petition.
He adds: “The petitioner lost time during the illegal house detention buy this honourable court is more inclined towards the strict timelines which has disadvantaged the petitioner to the advantage of the respondents.”
Kyagulanyi says after deeply reflecting on the circumstances, he reached a decision to do so since court is not handling the petition with the independence, impartiality and equality it’s expected of.
Section 61 of the presidential elections ACT, 2005 stipulates that a petition shall not be withdrawn except with leave of court and after such notice has been given as the court may direct.
“On the hearing of any application withdraw; any candidate who might have been a petitioner in respect of the election to which the petition refers may apply to court to be substituted as petitioner for the petitioner who desires to withdraw,” the law states.
The law says if a petition is withdrawn, the petitioner shall be liable to pay the Costs of the respondents.
Court is expected any time from the time of filling of the notice sit to hear the application and decide its fate.
If successful, Kyagulanyi’s withdrawal will be the first time a petitioner withdraws a presidential election petition after being filed in the Supreme Court.