Uganda: Supreme Court Has a Pre-Determined Mind - Bobi Wine

MP Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, meets supporters in Lira Town on January 8, 2020 (file photo).
23 February 2021

Ladies and gentlemen, we invited you here today to inform you about our decision on election petition No 1 of 2021 where I am challenging the purported victory of General Museveni. I want to remind you that we were sceptical about going to court.

There were two schools of thought. One held the firm belief that going to the Supreme Court to challenge the Museveni [re] election was a waste of time because these were cadre judges [and] that the institution of the Judiciary had been reduced to a mere mockery.

But, again, there was also another school of thought, which we agreed with, that much as the Judiciary has been reduced to a mockery, it's an institution that we believe in while we might not believe in the people that are superintending over it.

And, yes, we went to the Supreme Court to get two things: either to get justice or to get opportunity to expose the Judiciary. But as you all have been following even before we could expose the Judiciary, the Judiciary decided to expose itself. The world has been watching the bias[ed] tendencies.

You all remember that we were blocked from filing our [election] petition on a Saturday, but when the [ruling National Resistance Movement] NRM members went to the Supreme Court they were actually allowed to file a response to our petition on a Saturday; that is double standard number one.

Just a few days after we had filed our petition, we watched in shock as the Chief Justice [Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo] invited the respondent, Gen Museveni, to a lawyers' meeting [the Judiciary has since said their meeting with Mr Museveni was not secretive, and they used it to, among other things discuss their budget - [Editor].

The Chief Justice was asking for some favours and was asking Gen Museveni to do some things in the capacity of President a year from now [the national budget is approved before end of a Financial Year or end of June and as the incumbent, Mr Museveni's current presidential term runs until May 2021].

We had observed and indeed raised our voices on the uncomfortable closeness of the Chief Justice with Gen Museveni and not only the Chief Justice, but also various justices in the Supreme Court.

You are aware that since we petitioned the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice has met President Museveni three times. Now he is meeting a defendant three times even before they adjudicate this matter. We think that is wrong, we condemned and we continue to condemn it.

I have already mentioned about the statements that Justice Owiny-Dollo made before Gen Museveni and indeed he went ahead in one of those meetings to present a budget to the defendant. Now here is a situation in a matter where (President) Museveni is the defendant (Respondent) and a judge is actually asking for money from Museveni. We think that is not only immoral, but that is wrong.

Now following that, you all remember ... that I was put under illegal house arrest for 11 days after the elections and yet according to our laws, an aggrieved party is supposed to file a petition within 15 days.

It took an order from the High Court of Uganda for me to be able to leave my home, thereby start working on that petition. Good enough, we were able to work round the clock and within four days, we had filed a petition.

Our law provides for amending the petition because we decided that we had to present more powerful grounds to the Supreme Court. It shocked us like it shocked so many people in the world that the Supreme Court rejected the amendment of our petition.

I must remind you ladies and gentlemen that in the [2016] presidential election petition by [former prime minister] Amama Mbabazi versus Museveni, an amendment to presidential election petition was accepted.

So, it was clearly discriminatory of the Supreme Court to reject an amendment to our petition yet and amendment was accepted in the last presidential election petition.

As if that was not enough, our lawyers put it to the Supreme Court that we were unable to put all our grounds together because time was not enough having noted that the military and police [siege at my home for 11] days.

The Supreme Court with a clearly biased attitude rejected our amendment.

Now a matter before court is determined according to evidence and we made effort to collect as much evidence as possible amidst difficulty.

You are all aware that many of our election observers, polling agents were arrested and others continue to be on the run. Many of them are in prison, many have been abducted by the police and military and we don't know where they are.

So, amidst those challenges, we were still able to put together that evidence well knowing that in the past presidential election petitions, including the 2001 and another of 2006 [of] Dr Kizza Besigye versus Museveni, evidence was continually submitted to court all through the hearing...

We are convinced that the Supreme Court has a pre-determined mind. They want to rule that we lost this petition because we did not adduce enough evidence. But here is a Supreme Court rejecting evidence. And among the evidence that was rejected is an affidavit by our (National Unity Platform or NUP) secretary general (David Lewis Rubongoya), an affidavit by a comrade called [veteran journalist] Kalundi Sserumaga of a video which was putting everything clear to the Supreme Court.

[We had] videos of the military stuffing (ballot), videos of places in western Uganda where voting did not take place at all and videos of contradicting (result) declaration forms. All that was rejected.

Among evidence that was rejected were declaration forms form places like [President Museveni's] Kiruhura [home district] where there was a claim that 100 per cent of the people (voters) including the dead and those that had shifted from those areas were actually available on the day of the election [and voted].

But most interestingly, there is a place called Lwaweeba in Gomba, Buyanja. My father the late J.W, has a farm there. We have a family there. Lwaweeba is where more than seven of our family members were registered to vote from.

Now those seven did not vote because some had been arrested; others had fled because they were wanted. And some were two women who were heavily pregnant and did not show up to the polling station.

However, interestingly, at the Lwaweeba Polling Station, the voter turn-up was 100 per cent. Now because that evidence was too strong and it would make it impossible for the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo and his people to twist the case, they uncharacteristically rejected that evidence. Up to now, we don't understand why they rejected that evidence... And they did not give any [substantive] reason.

While we were still petitioning the Supreme Court, this [NUP head] office continued to be under lock-and-key, courtesy of the Uganda police and the military... The High Court did not assist us. Up to now they have not ruled on that matter.

The pieces of evidence that were rejected were way beyond 200 which is very clear that the Supreme Court is not intending to give us justice in this matter.

One very disturbing thing is that in the 2016 Presidential Election petition of Amama Mbabazi versus Museveni, even when by then the days of hearing and determining the case were 30 days, they were given over a week for submission. But guess what! The Supreme Court said we could only [make submission in court] for only 30 minutes.

I want you to imagine us being able to make our case, to bring all these details together in only 30 minutes! Now that was clear; one, the Supreme Court did not want this matter to attract so much attention because this is a matter of very high public interest; second, they did not want the public to pay so much attention; and, third, they did not want to expose themselves, but unfortunately they ended up exposing themselves even much more.

For that matter, ladies and gentlemen, for the reasons that we have given above, we have decided to withdraw [the presidential election petition] from their (Supreme) Court.

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