Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has said that the judges of the Supreme Court cannot be intimidated by statements made by former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in the handling of the Presidential Election petition that seeks to challenge President Museveni’s victory in the January 14 polls.
“If anyone thinks he can intimidate, blackmail, induce the Chief Justice, then he is headed for a crash. I have a conviction that what I am doing is right,” said Chief Justice Dollo adding that whatever is being said outside the court premises have no bearing on the presidential election petition.
Justice Dollo added: “I want to say that the judges took oath to protect the Constitution. In the oath, we all took to exercise judicial functions entrusted to me in accordance with the laws of Uganda without fear, favour, affection or ill-will.”
He said that being guided by the oath, matters circulating outside the court do not attach any importance to the Presidential Election Petition pending hearing and determination.
Justice Dollo was responding to concerns raised by the Attorney General (AG), Mr William Byaruhanga in which he complained against what he described as an orchestrated scheme by Mr Kyagulanyi to intimidate the Supreme Court.
According to Justice Dollo who chairs the nine member panel, Mr Kyagulanyi’s statements are considered as idle talk because if he did not have confidence in the court, he would not have run to judges to file his petition.
“We are not opposed to fair criticism but criticise my conduct and decision. But speaking against me without a chance to respond is cowardly. You can choose to malign us a thousand times but if you have an issue and come before me, I would proceed in line with the law,” the CJ said.
Mr Byaruhanga said: “I saw this on television and also in newspaper headlines when the applicant/petition made reference to his displeasure at the participation of three justices of this court. He said he has no confidence that he would get justice,” said Mr Byaruhanga before he appealed to Bobi Wine’s lawyers led by Mr Medard Sseggona to advise their client to respect court.
According to Mr Byaruhanga, Mr Kyagulanyi is seen to playing to another gallery and yet the judges already made orders directing all parties to file their issues before them.
On Tuesday, Mr Kyagulanyi at a press conference, 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) party president asked Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Justice Mike Chibita and Justice Ezekiel Kurabiraho Muhanguzi to recuse themselves. He said justice will not be served if the three judges are involved in hearing his petition.
On his part, Mr Sseggona denied knowledge of the AG’s concerns saying; “I have no instructions whether specific or in general in respect of recusal of judges.”
He said that he only learnt about the concerns a day before from the affidavit filed by Electoral commissioner, Mr Stephen Tashobya who alluded to it but did not get time to respond to it.
“My undertaking is that I will immediately after court, engage the applicant to know the circumstances and the context in which he said those words,” Mr Sseggona pleaded.
The arguments were made at the hearing of an application in which Mr Kyagulanyi is seeking for permission that the Supreme Court allows him to file his more than 200 additional affidavits in support of his petition challenging the victory of Yoweri Museveni in the January 14 elections.
The former NUP flag bearer, who came second in last month’s race after garnering 35 percent of the valid votes announced by EC, petitioned the Supreme Court on February 1 to declare that Mr Museveni was not validly elected since the EC boss, Justice Simon Byabakama, did not follow the law in conducting the poll.
Credit: Daily Monitor