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ROGERS WADADA: Here is the setup in Bobi Wine’s petition withdrawal, celebrate at your own peril

Roger Wadada Musaalo is a Lawyer, human rights activist, researcher, and politician (PHOTO/File).

KAMAPALA – Former presidential candidate and NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi has in a letter instructed his lawyers to withdraw the petition he filed in the Supreme Court challenging the January 14 elections and cites bias of three judges of the panel handling his case as his the main reason for having rejected his three applications to beef up his petition.

Mr. Kyagulanyi’s rift with the courts was heightened when the Supreme Court in an 8:1 majority ruling declined to allow the filing of an extra 127 affidavits in support of his petition

The Friday Supreme Court’s ruling was the last nail on the coffin and it would take a fool to imagine that Kyagulanyi would have a chance in his bid to overturn Mr Museveni’s victory.

With three setbacks to correct the shortcomings in his first petition filed hurriedly and in only five days upon release from house arrest, any right-thinking petitioner would do what Kyagulanyi did, to withdraw the election petition as no one would expect justice from what Kyagulanyi described as a compromised Supreme Court.

The withdrawal of the petition comes after rumors made rounds that Bobi Wine was under intense pressure to withdraw his petition from the court but nobody bothered to find out the reasons and who was behind the pressure. Of course many were quick to imagine that it was due to the rejection of his application to amend his petition, rejection of his additional affidavits, and the refusal by some judges to withdraw from taking part in the petition due to conflict of interest, unfairness and bias.

I had personally warned in my previous article that proceeding with the petition was a bad idea as it would only legitimize Museveni’s next five years as President. Visit pmlmedia.com and look out for” kyagulanyi has a good case in form and substance but this is Uganda, the outcome will only endorse Museveni’s next five years as being legitimate”. I also added that the bar was too high and from the look of things, the petition was a foregone conclusion and would only serve the purpose of endorsing Museveni’s next term as being legitimate……………”.

For those of us who have been living in this country for at least 45 years, we can only say history is repeating itself just as it was in the aftermath of 1980. After allegations of rigging the 1980 elections, Museveni attempted to challenge the victory of Obote but later withdrew the case before taking a different direction than Kyagulanyi of 2021 has disassociated himself from.

Kyagulanyi did not give Ugandans and other plans but concluded that Ugandans will decide the destiny of this country. Bobi Wine explained that his case will now be taken to the Court of Public opinion since Ugandan courts have failed to show that they are independent. It appears that my brother Kyagulanyi has forgotten that the courts of public opinion don’t adhere to the rules of natural justice. In the end, it is not Ugandans that will decide the destiny of this country as their only option was exhausted in a ballot box on 14th January 2021; it could be a foreign force.

So far, it is clear that our destiny has been left in the hands of the international community and their interests are a lot different and are sinister in nature. With the docking of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, a naval ship at Mombasa, it is not wise to think all is roses especially that the oil curse still looms around many African countries with no escape route.

Just a few days ago, Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo made statements that I think were uncalled-for saying the Supreme Court Judges cannot be intimidated by statements made by Bobi Wine in reference to the handling of the Presidential Election Petition. Owiny-Dollo added that if anyone thought they can intimidate, blackmail, induce him, then that person is headed for a “crash”. Now that the remarks of Kyagulanyi were insinuated to mean intimidation, then the petition challenging Museveni’s victory was an exercise in futility.

When whispers of uranium start coming through the corridors, one has reasons to worry that somebody may be looking for an excuse to beat another. Note that there is a difference between fighting and beating. What America and the UN did to Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was a beating. The last thing Americans want to hear is that somebody is stocking or dealing in uranium perceived as a mineral for manufacturing nuclear weapons. It is worse if that person or country is associated with North-Korea. Americans have thought that “my enemy’s friend is my enemy”

So for those of us who intend to celebrate the withdrawal of the petition, think again, my view is that it is a setup that many of us will live to regret. From my thinking, the decision could have been influenced by the international community to leave Museveni’s victory hanging. Under such circumstances, nobody will allege that the victory was endorsed by the highest court in the country and thus legitimate. To me, all these are bad signals that cannot be taken for granted.

The worst the mistake will come from the Supreme Court which has not yet pronounced itself on the withdrawal letter. I suspect that they may want to invite the parties to withdraw the matter officially from the record of the court whereupon the withdrawal shall be allowed but with costs. Certainly, the Lawyers of the Electoral Commission, the Attorney General, and Museveni will ask for costs as was threatened by Kihika the NRM’s Director of Legal Services.

No one should lie to Ugandans that the filing of the petition was not a blessing in disguise, its withdrawal is a serious blow, to me, it is a real indictment on the Electoral Commission, President Museveni, and the Attorney General. Prior threats by the ruling National Resistance Movement that a withdrawal would have a heavy financial implication is not good enough, either way, this was a petition to lose and if these judges wanted, they would go on to slap costs on Kyagulanyi.

In allowing the application for the withdrawal of the petition, the Supreme Court in an effort to punish Kyagulanyi for all the comments made against them will grant the same with costs to the three respondents. After filing and taxing the bill of costs, the Lawyers will attempt to cause the arrest of Kyagulanyi to recover their costs or to attach his belongings. The outcome of that decision will cause confusion and chaos around the country and as usual, security organs will swing in action in their usual way which will attract the attention of the international a community for human rights violations hence crimes against humanity.

Given the threats to his witnesses, Kyagulanyi could be right. The prevailing political environment could not allow him to file a formidable presidential petition for fear that his witnesses could be killed, intimidated, threatened, kidnapped and or even compromised which would be all standards that frustrate the witnesses from defending their affidavits. A withdrawal despite the underlying intentions was the best decision under the circumstances.

The writer, Rogers Wadada is a Human Rights Activist and Politician

NOTE: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect our editorial stance.

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