By Andrew Irumba
Kololo, Kampala: Finally the National Unity Platform (NUP) President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has withdrawn his election petition he had filed challenging his rival Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s victory that will see him ruling uninterruptedly till 2026.
As a relief to Kyagulanyi who has since been in a panicky mode due to the seemingly high court costs he thought to pay to their other party [respondent], the Supreme Court declared that each party will meet its own costs.
In a clarification as to why Kyagulanyi is not liable to pay costs yet section 61 of the Presidential Elections Act, 2005 of the commands so, the panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court said subjecting a petitioner to pay costs for withdrawing the petition would be an impediment to justice since many other would-be petitioners will always fear to file petitions.
“As much as the instant election petition was not prosecuted to the end, it touches on democracy and validity of the election to the highest office in the land. We are therefore not convinced that the court should apply different principles in light of the withdrawn petition,” Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi who read the ruling on behalf of the panel of nine justices said.
Court’s decision however didn’t leave the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga comfortable hence raising a point on behalf of other respondents saying that the court should condemn Kyagulanyi with costs due to his conduct during the case that left the judicature torn into pieces with accusations of working under bias.
However, Kyagulanyi’s head of legal team Medard Sseggona fired back to Attorney General thus;
“A petition of this nature is important in guaranteeing democracy and rule of law for Ugandans. Persons aggrieved and dissatisfied by the presidential election outcome should find the mood smooth to access courts of law as the final and ultimate target.”
He added, “Only that Ugandans shall be safe and tranquility guaranteed. This court has got the occasion to consider issues of election petitions and costs in the previous three presidential elections. The person bringing a petition should not be scared of costs should then withdraw the petition.’