In Uganda, the Supreme Court yesterday rejected additional evidence in 127 affidavits that lawyers for former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, attempted to file in support of his petition challenging the victory of President Museveni in the January 14 elections.

The affidavits were attached with evidential documents, audio and video compact discs (CDs) in four volumes.

The rejected documents included affidavits by Bobi’s National Unity Platform (NUP) party lawyer Benjamin Katana and Secretary General David Lewis, Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze and other sworn statements by jailed singer Ali Bukenya, aka Nubian Li, and veteran journalist Kalundi Serumaga.

On Thursday last week, the court directed Bobi’s lawyers to file their additional affidavits and evidences by February 14.

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo last evening issued a memo directing the court registrar, Ms Harriet Nalukwago, to inform Bobi’s lawyers that the said affidavits were filed out of time.

The memo was authored in response to yesterday’s pleas by lawyers from Wameli and Company Advocates, part of the petitioner’s attorneys, for court’s permission for them to file additional affidavits arguing that the accused parties would not be disadvantaged.

The respondents are Mr Museveni, the ruling National Resistance Movement’s former flag bearer,  the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney General.

Argument
Bobi’s lawyers had written to court that the rejected affidavits were brought at the Supreme Court at 6pm on Sunday but they found the court closed for official business.

‚ÄúWe have this morning (yesterday) 7am been able to bring all the said affidavits and they are at court,‚ÄĚ reads a letter by Bobi‚Äôs lawyers.

The former NUP flag bearer, who came second in last month’s race after garnering 35 per cent of the valid votes, petitioned the Supreme Court on February 1 to declare that Mr Museveni was not validly elected since the EC did not follow the law in conducting the poll.

In the letter to Bobi’s lawyers, Ms Nalukwago wrote that the court still stands on its February 11 directive, which required them to file additional evidence latest by February 14 at 5pm.

The registrar’s letter indicated that the court would only allow the additional 50 affidavits that the NUP lawyers filed within the deadline on Sunday.

The Supreme Court Rules and Presidential Elections (Election Petitions) Rules, according to a lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity, allows the court to receive such documents out of time.

However, the law provides that a presidential election petition should be determined within 45 days from the day of filing and already two weeks have lapsed from February 1 when Bobi filed his petition, meaning the Supreme court has one month left to hear and decide.

The court already set March 18 as the judgment day.
This Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday was the second time that Bobi suffers legal setback in his bid to overturn Mr Museveni’s victory.

On February 9, the court unanimously dismissed his application seeking to amend his petition on grounds that the issues the amendment sought to introduce had already been raised in the original petition.

The law

Judicature (Supreme Court Rules) Direction, rule 13 provides for acceptance of documents lodged out of time. Rule 17(1)-The registrar or the registrar of the Court of Appeal, as the case may¬† be, shall¬† not¬† refuse¬† to¬† accept¬† any¬† document¬† on¬† the¬† ground¬† that¬† it¬† is lodged out of time but shall mark the document with the words ‚Äúlodged out of time‚ÄĚ and inform the person lodging it accordingly.

The Presidential Elections (Election Petitions) Rules, 2001 under rule 17 provides for ‚ÄúEnlargement or abridgement of time.‚ÄĚ

The rule states: ‚ÄúThe court may of its own motion or on oral application by any party to the proceedings upon such terms as the justice of the case may require, enlarge or abridge the time appointed by the Rules for doing any act if, in the opinion of the court, there exist such special circumstances as make it expedient to do so; except that when considering enlarging the time, the court shall take into account the provisions of subsection (3) of section 58 of the Act.‚ÄĚ

Source:DailyMonitor

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