The Supreme Court in Kampala has rejected former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi’s bid to file additional affidavits in support of his petition challenging the victory of President Museveni in the January 14 elections.
In an eight to one majority ruling Friday evening, justice night Percy Tuhaise dismissed the National Unity Platform (NUP)’s application that sought extra time to file his new affidavits.
The respondents are Mr Yoweri Museveni, the ruling National Resistance Movement’s former flag bearer whom the Electoral Commission (EC) declared winner of the January 14 election, the EC and the Attorney General.
On Wednesday, the musician turned politician, popularly known as Bobi Wine, filed an application seeking court’s permission to allow his additional 127 affidavits, which the court had rejected on account of being filed out of time.
Through his lawyers, Mr Kyagulanyi argued that the additional affidavits comprising statements, videos, photographs and audio recordings are essential in the petition to enable the court to effectively inquire into and determine all questions involved in the matter.
“The time granted to the applicant for filing additional evidence in support of the petition be enlarged by one extra day to enable him file and serve all his compiled affidavits,” he states.
Mr Kyagulanyi, who was the first-runner up in the January polls, argued that the application was brought without delay because of the prevailing special circumstances that warranted its grant.
However, during the hearing on Friday the Electoral Commission (EC) lawyer, Mr Joseph Matsiko and the Attorney General (AG), Mr William Byaruhanga agreed with the earlier submissions of Mr Museveni’s lawyer, Kiryowa Kiwanuka that Mr Kyagulanyi’s application was incompetent with no exceptional circumstances to allow it to proceed.
Kyagulanyi’s application based on falsehoods, respondents says
EC and AG maintained that the application was misconceived as it is based on falsehoods and that Mr Kyagulanyi’s lawyers led by Mr Medard Sseggona had a big burden to convince the Supreme Court that sufficient cause had been shown for the Court to grant his application.
The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo who is leading the panel of nine judges to hear the petition then tasked Mr Sseggona to convince Court why Mr Kyagulanyi needed more time to file more affidavits yet there is evidence on record that by February 14, 2021 his client was no longer under siege at his home in Magere following the successful high court ruling; and that they were in possession of the new evidence they were required to file by February 14, 2021.
In his submission, Mr Sseggona said they had failed to meet the timelines set by court and were asking for the mercy of judges to allow them file the remaining affidavits incriminating AG and Museveni on the disability they had been subjected to by the respondents to make out their case in support of the main petition.
8-1 majority ruling
However, the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and seven other judges; Dr Esther Kisaakye Kitimbo, Stella Arach-Amoko, Rubby Aweri Opio, Faith Essy Mwondha, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Night Tuhaise, and Mike Chibita dismissed Mr Kyagulanyi’s application.
It’s only Justice Paul Kahaibale Mugamba who dissented from the other eight and ruled in Mr Kyagulanyi’s favour.
This therefore means court will only allow the additional 50 affidavits that the NUP lawyers filed within the deadline on Sunday.
Earlier, the Chief Justice warned Mr Kyaguanyi against blackmailing and intimidating judges hearing his petition.
The rejected documents included affidavits by NUP party lawyer Benjamin Katana and secretary-general David Lewis Rubongoya, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, who was re-elected on NUP ticket, and other sworn statements by jailed singer Buken Ali, aka Nubian Li, and veteran journalist Kalundi Serumaga.
Last week, the court directed Mr Kyagulanyi’s lawyers to file their additional affidavits and evidence by February 14) (Valentine’s Day).
On Monday, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo issued a memo directing the court registrar, Ms Harriet Nalukwago, to inform Mr Kyaguanyi’s lawyers that the said affidavits were filed out of time.
The memo was authored in response to yesterday’s pleas by lawyers from Wameli and Company Advocates, part of the petitioner’s attorneys, for court’s permission for them to file additional affidavits arguing that the accused parties would not be disadvantaged.
By press time, the respondents were yet to respond to the application.
The former NUP flag bearer petitioned the Supreme Court on February 1 to declare that Mr Museveni was not validly elected since the EC did not follow the law in conducting the poll.
In the letter to his lawyers, Ms Nalukwago wrote that the court still stands on its February 11 directive which required them to file additional evidence latest by February 14 at 5 pm.