By Markson Omagor
The legal team defending Presidential Candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni against an election petition filed by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has objected to amendments to the original petition.
On Monday, the Kyagulanyi legal team filed before the Supreme Court amendments to an earlier petition.
On Thursday last week, Kyagulanyi had wanted to file the amended petition but the Supreme Court registrar declined the request saying that it was only the full panel of the Court that could grant him the leave to amend the petition.
Today, a panel of nine Justices led by the Chief Justice Owiny Ddollo has convened to hear the application by NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi seeking leave to amend the petition he filed last week.
However, the first respondent (Museveni) has objected to the [petition] amendments on a number of grounds.
“The first ground is that the determination of presidential elections petitions does not provide for amendments. In fact, it does not allow amendments,” Museveni’s lawyer, Ebert Byenkya argues.
It remains to be known whether the 9 Justices will allow the amendments now considering the fact that Museveni’s legal team has objected.
According to the amendments, Kyagulanyi contends that as an incumbent, Museveni was ineligible to take part in the January 14th, presidential election.
Kyagulanyi states that contrary to Articles 102 (2) (b) and 219 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as amended and S. 4 (b) of the Presidential Elections Act as amended, Museveni was not qualified for election as president while in the office of head of state, head of government, commander in chief and chairperson of the National Security Council.
He adds that because Museveni was the incumbent, he abused the presidency by commanding or directing forces under his command, control and authority such as the Special Forces Command, Uganda People’s Defence Forces, Uganda Police Force, the Internal Security Organisation, Resident District Commissioners, Local Defence Unit and Special Police Constables to brutalize, torture, maim and assault him, his agents and supporters. He adds that the forces also interfered with the electoral process to his benefit.
Kyagulanyi’s amended petition also alleges that Museveni, during the election period, in the exercise of his powers as Commander in Chief, reshuffled forces with personnel ‘notorious for brutality and partisanship’ such as Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba who was appointed as Commander of SFC and Major General Paul Lokech who was appointed as the deputy IGP, who then according to him, perpetrated electoral violence and brutality against Kyagulanyi, other candidates and their respective agents and supporters.
Kyagulanyi also alleges that Museveni used his powers as the president to use government resources for the purpose of campaigning when he caused the disbursement of resources during the election period, the ‘EMYOOGA’ poverty eradication initiative solely to influence and win support of the beneficiaries.
“Cumulatively, the above acts…created insecurity and seriously compromised freedom, fairness and voter turnout in the 2021 presidential elections particularly in the petitioner’s stronghold districts/cities of Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Mpigi, Gulu, Masaka, among others where the electorate was greatly intimidated, terrified and horrified thereby affecting the percentage of voter turnout…,” Kyagulanyi’s petition reads in part.
Kyagulanyi also lists a number of cases where Museveni allegedly bribed off his supporters to change their allegiance. Among those listed that were given money, cars, and other inducements include Ashburg Kato, Ronald Mayinja, Bosmic Otim, Jenniffer Nakangubi commonly known as Full Figure, Abbey Sewakiryanga who is also known as Basajjamivule, and Andrew Mukasa Bajjo, among others.
He also names a number of NUP former parliamentary candidates who were allegedly bribed to abandon the party in different parts of the country. These include, Jasper Ayebare who was the Rubanda East candidate and coordinator in Kigezi sub region, Ochira Bosco Lawino, a former NUP registrar and coordinator for Nwoya district, Angalia Godwin Kasigwa, a former NUP parliamentary candidate for Buliisa County, and Sanya Wycliffe, the NUP parliamentary candidate for Samia Bugwe South among others.
On Thursday, Kyagulanyi had wanted to file the amended petition but the Supreme Court registrar declined the request saying that it was only the full panel of the Court that could grant him the leave to amend the petition.
“I have been advised by my lawyers, whose advice I verily believe to be true and correct, that the newly established information, further particulars, grounds and prayers are necessary and can only be introduced by way of an amended petition…My lawyers advised me that I was still within the prescribed time to amend my petition without leave of Court,” Kyagulanyi’s affidavit in support of the request to amend the original petition reads.