The National Resistance Movement party legal director council Oscar Kihika has said that the party’s legal team started preparations to defend President Museveni’s victory long before the petitioners filed their affidavits. Kihika, while speaking to journalists during the party’s weekly media briefing on Sunday, said that it was because of this early preparation that they were able to win what he called the first round of the petition where court squashed the petitioners attempt to amend their earlier filing.
The Supreme Court, sitting in Kampala last week refused former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s application to amend his suit and include new grounds. Justice Stella Arach Amoko, who read the unanimous ruling, dismissed Mr Kyagulanyi’s application on grounds that the issues he intended to add to the petition had already been included in the original petition.
The 9 justices of the Supreme Court advised Mr Kyagulanyi’s legal team led to file evidence by affidavits to prove the grounds they raised in the original petition.
Yesterday, the team representing Mr Museveni received affidavits to enable them resume their work in filing defense. Kihika told journalists at the NRM party headquarters in Kampala yesterday that on Thursday the Supreme court in pre-trial conference gave the petitioners up to today to file their affidavits of the claims in which they challenge the 14th January presidential election results.
“As you are already aware, on Thursday there was conferencing to set out the time table of activities in this petition. The Supreme court gave up to today 14th February 2021 for the petitioners to file their affidavits in support of the petition,” Kihika said. He further stated that the first respondent who is the President, the second respondent in this case the Electoral Commission and the third respondent who is the Attorney General have up to Saturday 20th February 2021 to file in all their affidavits in response.
“We, the respondents, on the other hand, the court ordered us to file all our affidavits in response by next Saturday. But we continue to do our work in defense of this petition, but very crucially we are waiting to see how many affidavits are going to be filed today by the petitioners. The number of affidavits is the ones that determine the volume of work that is on our hands,” Kihika adds.
Kyagulanyi’s petition filed on Monday 1st February 2021, seeks annulment of the results of last month’s presidential election that handed incumbent Yoweri Museveni the victory citing 26 grounds on which they base their petition including ballot stuffing, intimidation of NUP agents and supporters, pre-ticked ballot papers, voter bribery and others. However, according to Kihika, the petition is based on hearsay and cannot stand in court.