Former Uganda presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has asked three justices of the Supreme Court to disqualify themselves from hearing his election petition against President Museveni, citing conflict of interest.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) Opposition party president named Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Justice Mike Chibita and Justice Ezekiel Kurabiraho Muhanguzi.
Mr Kyagulanyi says justice will not be served if the three judges are involved in hearing his petition.
The petition will be heard by nine justices.
‚ÄúWe have questions about the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo, having been a former Museveni minister, having been a former Museveni defence lawyer and also we have seen pictures indicating that the Chief justice has been meeting with Gen Museveni on a regular basis. We believe that within the law, that is wrong,‚ÄĚ Bobi said while addressing journalists at NUP offices in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb.
‚ÄúTherefore, we want the Chief Justice not to be part of this hearing. Not just the Chief Justice, there are other justices in the Supreme Court like (Justice) Mike Chibita, who we all know was the private secretary for legal affairs in Museveni‚Äôs office for seven years. We also know that (Justice) Ezekiel Muhanguzi is a relative of Gen Eli Tumwine, a person that the national and international community has castigated for abusing human rights,‚ÄĚ Mr Kyagulanyi explained.
This comes after Hassan Male Mabirizi, a lawyer, on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court seeking the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo to step aside for fear that he is biased because of his background with the first respondent, President Museveni.
Mr Kyagulanyi said the court is acting in a manner that shows they are partial yet they are supposed to be independent.
‚ÄúWe went to the Supreme Court to seek justice, not injustice. We want to put the Supreme Court on notice; that if this persists, we are not going to be part of the mockery. We have not even started the hearing but the court is rejecting our evidence. What is the reason? We strongly believe that the court is working with orders from Gen. Museveni. Many of our witnesses are (also) in jail,‚ÄĚ Mr Kyagulanyi said.
He said about 250 pieces of additional evidence that included affidavits with evidential documents, including audio and video compact discs in four volumes were rejected by the court on Monday.
The Supreme Court yesterday said there are clear channels and procedures for a justice to excuse himself or herself from hearing a case.
‚ÄúThe procedure for stepping aside by a judge is very clear. The person who is seeking it, has to raise the complaint before the court and a ruling is made on whether the named judicial officer/s steps aside or not.
His lawyers (Mr Kyagulanyi‚Äôs lawyers), didn‚Äôt raise this concern the last time the court convened and we assumed they were okay with the coram that was before them,‚ÄĚ Mr Jamson Karemani, the Judiciary spokesperson, said by telephone last evening.
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