National Unity Platform leader, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine has formally applied to court to withdraw his petition challenging the election of President Museveni in the January,14 polls.
In his application, Kyagulanyi says he has been forced to withdraw the petition he filed because he thinks the court has not put in place grounds favorable for his petition to succeed.
“The petitioner’s witnesses are being abducted, tortured, harassed and intimidated by state security operatives at the behest of the first(Museveni) and third respondent(Attorney General)’s agents. Organs of the state like Uganda Police Force and NIRA are being used by the respondents to investigate and infringe on privacy of the petitioner’s witnesses,”Kyagulanyi says in his application.
The runner-up in the January 14 polls argues that procedural rules governing presidential election petitions have been applied to disadvantage him in such a way that he was denied time to amend his petition and being stopped from filing additional evidence.
Kyagulanyi also notes that whereas his National Unity Platform offices were raided and cordoned off by security for a number of weeks rendering him unable to file relevant affidavits and evidence in support to his petition, the court has failed to put it into consideration.
“The petitioner lost time during the illegal house detention but this honourable court is more inclined towards the strict timelines which has disadvantaged the petitioner to the advantage of the respondents,” he says.
“After deeply reflecting upon the foregoing circumstances, I reached a decision that withdrawing the instant petition is the right thing to do since this court is not handling the petition with the independence, impartiality and equality I expected of it.”
Section 61 the Presidential Elections Act, 2005 stipulates that a petition shall not be withdrawn except with leave of court and after such notice has been given as the court may direct.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 costs 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.”
The court is expected any time from now to hear the application and decide its fate.
If successful, Kyagulanyi’s withdrawal will be the first time a petitioner withdraws a presidential election petition after being filed in the Supreme Court.