National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine has announced he has decided to withdrawal his election petition challenging incumbent Yoweri Museveni’s election victory last month citing bias of the Supreme court.
According to Kyagulanyi, 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 Mr. Museveni.
He says the people of Uganda will have the final say. Earlier, Kyagulanyi complained about three justices on the panel of nine that were set up to determine his petition.
The three were Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo whom he accused of having worked as Museveni’s defense lawyer in 2001 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 “regime sycophant”.
However, last week the Chief Justice fumed at Bobi Wine and said he would not excuse himself from the case.
“We are withdrawing from the courts but we are not opting for violence. We are withdrawing the case from Mr Owiny Dollo’s court,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.
On Sunday, lawyers of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) warned that Kyagulanyi would face heavy financial implications if he dared to withdraw the petition challenging Mr Museveni’s victory from the Supreme Court.
Mr Oscar Kihika, the director of the NRM legal department, told journalists that the party would ask the petitioner to pay all the expenses the party has incurred in preparation and responding to the election petition.
“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 Kihika Sunday said 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.
However, Mr Joel Ssennyonyi the NUP spokesperson says the party is less bathered by how much is there to pay. He argues that they have already incurred heavier costs including loss of life and “illegal detentions”.
“We’re not moved by the costs to pay. When you contest against Mr Museveni, you must pay huge costs. We have already paid huge costs. Some of our colleagues have been killed, illegally detained and many other things,” Ssennyonyi said.
Mr Anthony Wameli, one of Kyagulanyi’s lawyers, Monday told the Daily Monitor that his client knows all the implications and is willing and ready to cover whatever the cost.
“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 told the News Paper.