The Supreme Court has set strict timelines to be followed by lawyers in the election petition filed by National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi challenging President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s election.
On Thursday, when the case came up for pre-hearing, the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny- Dollo the head of the panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court said informed the lawyers from both sides that the time within which to hear and determine the petition has been eaten into and that it is imperative to use the remaining days effectively.
“It is 10 days today that we have used of the 45 days stipulated. You will be given 30 minutes for oral submissions and this is purposely for highlighting and not presenting the entire submissions. Don’t meander all over the words,”Dollo said on Thursday.
“You know what you have in your arsenal and make use of it in the 30 minutes.”
The Chief justice said it is important that the lawyers from both sides abide by the set timelines or else there might be a crisis if the time set to hear and conclude the petition is not met.
“You will be lucky to if you are allowed to file anything outside that timeline set. I expect total cooperation and decorum from both sides.”
The Chief Justice noted that the petitioners (Kyagulanyi) have up to February 14 to file their affidavits in the matter while the respondents(Museveni) have up to February 20 to file their affidavits in response.
Justice Owiny-Dollo said Kyagulanyi’s lawyers will also have to file their rejoinder by February 23 whereas the case will come for pre-hearing on February 24.
The petitioners will also have to file their written submissions by February 23 , whereas the respondents will be required to file their written submissions by March,2 and by March 4, the petitioners will be asked to file their rejoinder if any.
Lawyers from both sides will have a chance to cross examine witnesses and also present electronic evidence between February 25 and 26.
On March, 5, the lawyers will be given chance to present their oral submissions and each will have 30 minutes for this process, whereas the petitioners will be given another 20 minutes for a rejoinder.
According to the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court will use March 7 and 17 to look through the arguments by both sides before delivering its judgment on March 18.
Kyagulanyi argues that President Museveni was illegally declared as the president-elect since there were a number of irregularities carried out during the campaigns and subsequent election on January,14.
On the other side, Museveni denies any wrongdoing but also notes that Kyagulanyi’s petition was filed out of the mandatory 45 days’ time.
February 14 – Closing date for filing affidavits by Kyagulanyi lawyers
February 20—Closing date for filing of affidavits by Museveni and EC lawyers
February 23- Closing date for filing of affidavits in rejoinder by Kyagulanyi’s lawyers
February 24– Pre-hearing by the Supreme Court
February 23– Filing written submissions by the petitioner
February 25- 26- Cross-examination for witnesses and presentation of electronic evidence
March 2– Filing written submissions in response by the respondents
March 18– Judgment day