The Supreme Court has condemned National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine for playing a victim card while withdrawing the 2021 election petition.
In the affidavit to support his application to withdraw the petition challenging President Museveni’s election, Kyagulanyi said he was convinced the court would not give him justice.
“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,” Kyagulanyi said in his affidavit.
Delivering their detailed ruling in the case, the panel of nine justices said it was wrong for someone to come to court seeking for justice but turn around to malign them.
“He(Kyagulanyi) seems to base his claims on the fact that his applications to amend his pleadings and time within which to file pleadings outside the scheduled timelines were denied. This denial rather than being attributed to lack of independence and impartiality should be attributed to strict timelines provided by-law under section 59 and the tardiness of his counsel. The timelines are prescribed under Article 104 of the Constitution and an aggrieved candidate is required to petition the Supreme Court for an order that the candidate elected as president was not validly elected within 15 days of the declaration of results,” Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi who read the ruling on behalf of the others said.
The judge said the court was required to inquire into, determine expeditiously and declare its findings and reasons in a period not later than 45 days, noting that Kyagulanyi ought to have used this time as stipulated.
According to the justices, whereas the court can exercise its discretion to extend the various timelines within which parties can perform certain acts in civil suits, the constitution doesn’t allow for the same in a presidential election petition.
“On the day of pre-hearing, the court with the counsel for all parties agreed to the roadmap which contained the various dates in which the parties were to file their affidavits. Counsel for the applicant (Kyagulanyi) assured court that he would have filed all the affidavits by February, 14,2021. The applicant’s counsel however failed to do so. This failure can therefore not be visited on the court.”
“All these acts are within the knowledge of the counsel of the applicant who assured court that notwithstanding other utterances attributed to him, the applicant and the rest of the public have confidence in the rule of law. Indeed his having filed the petition and followed the procedure shows the confidence he has in the rule of law.”
The judges blasted Kyagulanyi for turning around to accuse them of not being independent and impartial yet he had willingly taken the case before them.
“Sadly it is not unusual for parties who have been successful in litigation to label court negatively. Successful parties on the other hand are all full of praise. That notwithstanding, all the judicial officers will continue to adhere to their oath to do just to all manner of people without fear, favour , ill will or affection.”
“It is clear that the petitioner on several occasions threw utterances to the media and in diverse places in trying to interfere with the courts and judicial officers. Such conduct is not only unconstitutional but also offends the principle of subjudice. Such conduct is to be condemned in no uncertain terms. The maxim, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands prevails,” the justices said.