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Kyagulanyi petition dealt another blow as court rejects new evidence

Kyagulanyi's lead lawyer Medard Sseggona

Kyagulanyi's lead lawyer Medard Sseggona

In a majority ruling of 8:1, justices of the Supreme court have declined to allow an application by former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu to file more evidence to support his petition challenging President Museveni’s victory in last month’s presidential election.

In a short ruling read by justice Percy Night Tuhaise, the Supreme court did not give any reasons for its ruling.

“We have given due consideration to the application and submission of counsel for the applicant and for the respondent, by a majority of 8:1 this court disallows this application. Costs shall be in the cause. Detailed reasons for the ruling will be contained in the detailed judgment,” Tuhaise said.

According to Jameson Karemani, the spokesperson of the Judiciary, justice Dr Esther Kisakye was the only justice who wanted to allow Kyagulanyi to bring the evidence and dissented from the majority ruling. Nine justices; Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Ruby Opio-Aweri, Mike Chibita, Faith Mwondha, Night Tuhaise, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Paul Mugamba, Esther Kisakye and Stella Arach Amoko are hearing the petition.

Kyagulanyi was barred from filing 200 affidavits last week in the Supreme court arguing that he was out of time. The court had set February 14, as the deadline for submitting evidence. However, Medard Lubega Sseggona, the lead counsel for Kyagulanyi said that the actions of the state like arresting of their party supporters, bribing of their witnesses and a siege at their office at Kamwokya had hindered them from filing in the agreed time. 

Lawyers for Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General as the first, second and third respondents respectively opposed the application. 

They argued that if it is allowed, it will put pressure on the Supreme court and may cause it to fail to give its ruling before March 18 when the 45 days that are allowed by the constitution expire. Speaking to reporters after the dismissal of the application, Sseggona said it was unfortunate that court was stopping them from filing their evidence. He said it would be disingenuous for him to argue that this ruling will not have an impact on their case. 

"We'd intended to bring evidence to demonstrate how the Electoral Commission falsified results, how Gen Tibuhaburwa misused the army to lay siege on our offices in Kamwokya, to intimidate, kidnap and detain would be witnesses. It is unfortunate that that evidence has not been allowed even when it is available in the possession of court. We shall come and pick our documents for history and posterity. Yes it has an effect on the case but we have not come to the conclusion that the case is failing because of that although I must confess that every piece of evidence we want to bring to court is important and impacts on the case," said Sseggona. 

He had that they also found the witnesses who took the viral social media videos that show police and army officials pre-ticking and stuffing ballots in favour of Museveni

Early this week, while addressing a press conference Kyagulanyi said that if the Supreme Court continues to act in what he called a biased manner, he will have no any other option but to withdraw from the case. 

He said by refusing him to amend his petition and also submit evidence, the court was setting him up for failure. He also called upon three justices, Owiny-Dollo, Chibita and Muhanguzi to recuse themselves from the matter. However, Kyagulanyi is yet to make any formal application to that effect in court. 

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd