The Supreme Court Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has set 18th March 2021 as the date they expect to deliver Judgement in the Election Petition filed by National Unity Platform (NUP) President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu challenging the victory of the incumbent, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
This was during the first hearing of the election petition where Museveni’s contender Kyagulanyi Robert Sentamu of National Unity Platform who was the runner-up in the January 14 presidential election, appealed court seeking to nullify President Museveni’s victory that was announced on 17th January 2021.
According to the Court, the date follows timelines the Chief Justice has given to the parties in this case to file the necessary evidence and written submissions to their respective cases between now and 7th March 2021 when writing of the Judgement, in this case, will commence.
The Chief Justice who is leading a panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court has adjourned to 24th February 2021 the pre-hearing session of the election petition after Kyagulanyi’s Lawyers led by Medard Lubega Ssegona indicated that they needed more time to put together material and documentary evidence they had discovered important to their case as well as file more affidavits in support of the petition.
The Chief Justice said that the petitioner should make that filing by 23rd February 2021 and that if they need any documents from the respondents they should not find any problems getting it from them.
The Chief Justice also indicated that after framing of the issues on 24th February 2021 by the parties in open Court, the Petitioner – Kyagulanyi’s Lawyers Led by Medard Lubega Ssegona will now move to file and serve written submissions by 27th February 2021 to which the respondents; Museveni, Electoral Commission (EC) and Attorney General (AG) have up to 2nd March 2021 to respond. The Chief Justice further stated that If there is any rejoinder from the Petitioner it should be filed by 4th March 2021.
Furthermore, if any of the parties wants to cross-examine any witness or receive electronic evidence from Court it should be done on 25th and 26th February 2021.
On 5th March 2021, the Court will convene again, this time, for the parties to give highlights of their written evidence orally in 30 minutes each to convince the Court why the petition should be allowed or dismissed.
The Chief Justice has also disclosed that the Court will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays as per the given timelines and that special desks for the parties’ evidence to be easily served as and when it comes in will be put in place at the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice further reminded the parties in this case, the media and general public to allow the Court to do its work by respecting the sub judice rule where a matter cannot be discussed once it is in court.
“Let court do its work. You believe in justice and that’s why you came to the Courts of law. If you choose to go to social media let’s give facts; not disparaging,” he said.
The Chief Justice noted that the petitioner went to Court to present his case and not to a market.
He also assured the parties that they are going to inquire into the grievance of this election petition to the satisfaction of Ugandans and therefore he doesn’t want to see the petitioner and respondents treating each other as opponents.
Museveni who has ruled since 1986, won a sixth term in office with 58.6 percent of the vote followed by Kyagulanyi with 34.8 percent.
Under the constitution Kyagulanyi, popularly known Bobi Wine, had 15 days from the declaration of results by the electoral commission to challenge the outcome.
The Supreme Court must now rule on the petition within 45 days from the time of declaration of results.
The swearing in of president Yoweri Museveni for his sixth term is expected to happen later in May if the supreme court rules in his favour.