National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi’s election petition challenging President Museveni’s victory has suffered yet another setback after the Supreme Court has declined to receive 130 affidavits from his lawyers.
On Thursday, when the case came up for pre-hearing, the lawyers led by Medard Lubega Sseggona asked court for more time to be able to file their affidavits and consequently, the court asked the lawyers to file the pieces of evidence by February 14.
However, on Sunday, the lawyers filed the affidavits later in the evening prompting the court to decline to receive some of the pieces of evidence for having been filed past the agreed time.
In a letter by Wameli and Company Advocates, Kyagulanyi’s lawyers wrote to the Supreme Court asking for more affidavits to be received having been brought past the 5pm stipulated time on February 14.
“On the said date, we were at court by 5pm with the said affidavits only that some volumes got to court late after the court premises had been closed. We have this morning(Monday, February 15)been able to bring all the said affidavits to court. In the premises, we request that the said affidavits be received so that we serve the same upon respondents this morning so that they are not jeopardized,”Kyagulanyi’s lawyers said in a letter they wrote on Monday.
However, in response, Ssali Harriet Lukwago, the Supreme Court registrar said the court could not allow the affidavits filed after the stipulated time.
“I have been directed to inform you that during the pre-hearing conference, on February 11, 2021, the court directed that counsel for the petitioner file all supporting affidavits by 5pm latest on February,14 and court still stands by that directive,” the Supreme Court registrar wrote in response.
She noted that only 50 more affidavits filed before 5pm on February 14 would be received to make up the number of copies required by court.
The latest development is another blow to Kyagulanyi’s petition after the Supreme Court earlier dismissed an application in which the lawyers wanted to include new evidence to the case.
However, the development comes on the backdrop of a warning by the Chief Justice,Alfonse Owiny Dollo during the pre-hearing conference in which he said no evidence filed after the stipulated time would be allowed.
“As you are all aware, a presidential election petition by Constitution and the Presidential Elections Act should be heard and disposed of expeditiously and within the specified time. Court has no power to extend this time frame yet the matter must be determined in 45 days. It is really important that we abide by this timeline or else we might end up in a crisis,”Dollo said last week.
“You will be lucky if you are allowed to file anything outside that timeline set. I expect total cooperation and decorum from both sides.”
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