- Published: 13 March 2016
Court is set to deliver its verdict on the application by Friends of Court, a consortium of Eight Civil Society Organizations, and Law Dons at Makerere University who want to join the Judges’ bench in the Presidential Elections Petition. The Petition was filed by Independent Candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, seeking a nullification of Mr Museveni’s Victory in the General Elections held on 18th February 2016.
The CSO’s submitted their application to the panel of 9 Judges led by CJ Bert Katurebe amidst objection from the Lawyers of NRM’s Candidate Yoweri Museveni, the Electoral Commission and Attorney General saying these were Partisan groups, which would raise controversies in the final Ruling of the case.
The group of 8 formally presented their petition to court on Saturday, seeking for an order of amicus curie to be issued out by the court.
These organizations through their lawyers Nicholas Opio, Sssemwogerere Kalooli and Norah Matovu told court that the fact that they participated in these elections as observers, it gives them a better placement to be allowed to join as friends of court.
The CSOs moved to join the Mbabazi - Museveni petition citing that they need to represent the aspirations of the public and to answer the crucial question of whether the presidential elections were conducted in a manner representative of the will of the people.
The CSOs that filed the application include; Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, The Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Chapter Four Uganda, Human Rights Network Uganda, Center for Constitutional Governance, Kituo Cha Katiba Eastern African, Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda and Transparency Uganda.
According to the Attorney General, NRM and Electoral commission legal representatives these CSOs can’t be non-partisan judging by the fact that they already released an observatory report on the elections.
The Deputy attorney General Counsel Mwesigwa Rukutana says they could have sworn affidavits and joined as witnesses.
Earlier Makerere University dons asked court to be allowed in court as friends of court.
Their pleas were also objected to by the AG, NRM and EC saying the law dons are biased since they also once referred to the NRM Secretary General and the Ruling NRM Chairman as Dictators.
According to Museveni’s lawyer Ebert Byenkya, court needs to be careful as it opts to take on these dons as friends of court adding that they have a side already they support.
These in application promise court that they will adduce independent findings to potentially enhance the court’s assessment of whether the 2016 presidential elections were conducted in compliance with the law.
Court will on Monday give its ruling on whether to allow these Makerere University Dons and the CSOs as friends of Court.