The Supreme Court has set Thursday, February 11, 2021 as the date for the pre-hearing conference for the election petition filed by National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi challenging Yoweri Museveni’s election as president in the just-concluded election.
A pre-hearing conference is one where parties involved in a case meet with judges to determine a number of issues before the case hearing begins.
The subjects addressed at the prehearing conference vary significantly from one case to another depending on the nature of the issues and the number of parties involved.
In some cases, it may be necessary to establish a detailed schedule of prehearing procedures, including deadlines for the filing of intervention petitions, motions, and prefiled testimonies.
According to Harriet Ssali Nalukwago, the Supreme Court registrar, the petitioners and the respondents’ lawyers will on Thursday meet with the panel of nine justices to iron out some issues before the hearing date is set.
“We shall have the prehearing before the nine justices led by the Chief Justice on February, 11, 2021 to iron out a number of issues. Within that pre-hearing, they will be given timelines within which to give their written submissions and by the time the hearing starts, the submissions are with the justices,”Nalukwago said on Saturday as President Museveni’s lawyers filed their response.
In the petition, Kyagulanyi who came second in the 2021 presidential election with 3631437 votes representing 35.08% of the total valid votes says the campaigns and the subsequent elections were not free and fair, rendering the outcome nugatory.
“The election was invalid on grounds that it was not conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the Presidential Elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act,”Kyagulanyi says.
The presidential candidate in just concluded election says that his campaigns were always disrupted by police and on many occasions, they never happened, despite clearance from the relevant authorities.
“Contrary to section 3 and 2 of the Presidential Elections Act, officers of the Uganda Police Force and the UPDF on several occasions and in several parts of the country prevented the petitioner from carrying out his nationwide consultations in preparation for his nomination as a presidential candidate.”
Kyagulanyi also accuses the Electoral Commission of issuing campaign guidelines that hindered a free and fair campaign to his disadvantage but on the other hand enforced the same to favour of NRM’s Yoweri Museveni.
“Contrary to articles 1, 8A, 20(2), 28, 29,38 and 43 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda , the Presidential Elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act, through a press statement dated December 26,2020 the second respondent(Electoral Commission) arbitrarily, irrationally and indefinitely banned election campaign meetings in Kampala capital city, districts and cities of Jinja,Kabale, Kalungu, Masaka, Tororo, Luweero, Wakiso , greater Mukono,Mbarara, Kabarole, Kasese and Kazo thereby frustrating the petitioner’s right to associate, assemble and interface with the electorate.”
The petitioner says EC failed to deal with multiple voting and ballot stuffing in various parts of the country during the elections whereas the body also failed to ascertain, transmit, tabulate and declare the actual results of the presidential elections with transparency.
A panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo will hear the petition.
The other justices on the panel include Faith Mwondha, Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza, Paul Mugamba, Esther Kisaakye, Stella Arach Amoko, Rubby Opio Aweri, Percy Tuhaise, Mike Chibita and