National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine on Monday announced the withdrawal of his election petition challenging President Museveni’s election victory citing bias of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Museveni, led the country since 1986, was declared winner of the January 14 presidetial election with 59% of the vote, while Wine was given 35%.
Kyagulanyi, rejected the results and said he believed victory was stolen from him. He asked the court to overturn the results on several grounds including widespread use of violence.
Through his lawyers, Wine filed the petition February 1st seeking to nullify the election that saw President Museveni win a sixth term with 58 percent of the votes.
They also asked the court to ensure that Museveni can never run again in an election, accusing him of orchestrating violence, using soldiers to pre-tick ballots and invade polling stations.
“We have decided to withdraw from their court,” Wine told a news conference in Kampala. “The courts are not independent, it is clear these people (judges) are working for Mr. Museveni.”
As proof, he cited the court’s decision to reject an application he had made to file additional evidence he said showed pre-ticking of ballots, false tallies of ballots, impossibly high voter turnout and other irregularities.
Wine also said some of the court’s judges had met Museveni several times since he filed the petition and some of the meetings had been secret. “We are convinced that the Supreme Court has a pre-determined mind,” he said.
He particularly asked chief justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, whom he accused of having worked as Museveni’s defense lawyer in 2006 when he was similarly sued for another disputed election, Mike Chibita, who, he accused of working as Museveni’s private legal secretary for 7 years and Ezekiel Muhanguzi, who he said is a close relative of Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine a self- confessed “regime sycophant”.
Solomon Muyita, a judiciary spokesman, told judicial authorities would only respond to Wine’s accusations and decision to withdraw the case when he had formally quit the case through his lawyers.
Jameson Karemani, the court registrar, said the court is not bothered by Wine’s allegations of favoritism.
He said once the court receives the application to withdraw the petition, judges will decide on the matter, but it will be conditional.
“Conditional in the sense that, you filed a petition and served it on other parties, the parties had to go out of their way to prepare themselves for your petition. Now you have withdrawn it; they have incurred costs. So, the condition may be for you to be asked to pay the costs,” said Karemani.
A crackdown by security forces on Bobi Wine supporters over the past few months has left dozens dead and hundreds detained. Wine and other leaders of his National Unity Platform party have also accused security forces of traversing the country and abducting and torturing his supporters.
Police have said they were investigating all reports of disappearances.