Kyagulanyi reasons for amending election petition

NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi delivers his new year address at his residence in Magere, Wakiso District, January 02, 2021. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

The Supreme Court is sitting today to hear an application by former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, seeking leave to amend the election petition he filed last week challenging the victory of the incumbent President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

A panel of nine Justices led by the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo, have convened to hear the application to be presented by Kyagulanyi's lawyers led by Medard Lubega Ssegona.

Also present in court are the respondents in the case who include; the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, and his legal team, Museveni's lawyers Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Ebert Byenkya as well as the Electoral Commission's legal team.

According to Ssegona, the amendment of the petition is premised on the fact that after Elections, Bobi Wine was placed under house arrest which subjected him to post election detention trauma that hindered him from putting together all he wanted for his petition.

"Following the elections, Kyagulanyi was placed under house arrest. He managed to get himself released after the intervention of the High Court when he was left with only 5 days to prepare his petition. That is a disabling factor. To date, his (Bobi Wine) office of NUP remains under siege by the same respondents. They deny him the freedom, then come to court and say," Notwithstanding the unlawful activities meted out, you should not be granted leave," Mr Sseggona, Robert Kyagulanyi.

He therefore implored the Supreme Court to grant him this application in the interest of justice, equity and fairness.

Kyagulanyi further wants the Court to inquire into this election and make its pronouncement.

“The amendment is intended to help this court to effectively adjudicate on all matters of controversy as per the petition,” Mr Ssegona added.

However, Mr Museveni’s lawyer Ebert Byenkya objected to the application reasoning that the rules cited by Mr Kyagulanyi’s lawyer, Medard Ssegona are untenable.

He asked the court to dismiss the application arguing that it is out of the specified 15 days’ deadline stipulated in the law.

According to Byenkya, presidential election petitions are guided by a time table with strict time frames and amendment is not part of the events for such a petition.

"The first is that the determination of presidential elections petitions does not provide for amendments. In fact, it does not allow amendments," Mr Museveni's lawyer Ebert Byenkya told court Tuesday before the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo adjourned the hearing for a short break.

Earlier, the Chief Justice advised the parties involved to limit the number of their lawyers to three during hearing of any such application so as to observe Covid-19 SOPs.

You are free to come with any number of lawyers you want once we start hearing the main petition because we'll have enough space. However, limit the number for this kind of arrangement to three,” he said.