The leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP) Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine on Monday morning announced he had instructed his lawyers to withdraw the 2021 presidential election petition he had filed in the Supreme Court challenging President Museveni’s election.
“We have decided to remove our case from Owiny Dollo’s court, we shall now take the matter to the court of public opinion but we are not opting for violence. Just like Museveni sought to challenge the victory of Obote in 1980 and later withdrew the case and chose to go to the bush, we have also sought the same since the circumstances are not any different,”Kyagulanyi told journalists on Monday at the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya.
Kyagulanyi’s announcement came a few days after the Supreme Court dismissed an application in which he wanted to file additional evidence in the petition after the elapse of the February14 deadline.
On Sunday, lawyer representing the three respondents including Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General filed affidavits in response to the 53 affidavits filed earlier by Kyagulanyi’s lawyers.
Whereas Kyagulanyi announced publicly that he had withdrawn his petition from the Supreme Court, his lawyers will now have to follow the matter up to make it formal with the court’s registry.
According to section 59(4) of the Presidential Elections Act, 2005, where a petition having been filed , is withdrawn by the person who filed it, the candidate declared elected shall conclusively be taken to have been duly elected as President.
The Act in section 61 also stipulates that a petition shall not be withdrawn except with leave of court and after such notice has been given as the court may direct.
“On the hearing of the application for withdrawal, any candidate who might have been a petitioner in respect of the election to which the petition refers may apply to the court to be substituted as a petitioner for the petitioner who desires to withdraw,” the law says.
Consequently, according to the law, the Supreme Court may substitute as a petition any applicant.
“The court may further if the proposed withdrawal has been, in the opinion of court induced by any corrupt bargain by order direct that any security given on behalf of the original petitioner shall remain as security for any coasts that may become payable by the substituted petition and that the original petitioner shall be liable to pay costs,” the law says.
“If a petition is withdrawn the petitioner shall be liable to pay the costs of the respondent.”
If successful, Kyagulanyi’s withdrawal will be the first time a petitioner withdraws a presidential election petition after being filed in the Supreme Court.