By Sania Babirye
The chief Justice Alifonse Owiny Dollo has declined to recuse himself from being part of the nine Justice panel set to hear NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi’s election petition which Kyagulanyi has since then, unofficially withdrawn accusing three judges on the panel led by the chief justice of biasness.
Despite Kyagulanyi’s announcement yesterday, the law permits any citizen who might be interested to take up the matter and have it heard by the Supreme Court.
Today, Mabirizi asked the chief Justice Alifonse Owiny Dollo to recuse himself from hearing the election petition on grounds that even if Justice Dollo thinks that he can not be influenced by president Museveni as his former lawyer in determining the said petition, he should rather do it for the public perception that is already tinted with negative criticism over his relationship with president Museveni who is the main respondent in the said petition.
Mabirizi further told the Supreme court presided over by a panel of nine Justices led by Alifonse Owiny Dollo that, the chief justice should recuse himself from the said case for the process of fair hearing to take place so that there is no cloud on the process of determining the said petition.
He added that public perception is key to a fair hearing in the eyes of the public which justice Dollo has to respect as a judicial officer by recusing himself even without any valid ground.
However, his application was dismissed and justice Dollo ruled that he will give his reasons in the full judgement on the 18th of next month.
Meanwhile, the Supreme court has still not received any written application from Kyagulanyi’s legal team to officially withdraw their election petition despite Kyagulanyi announcing his withdraw of the case citing lack of independence and biasness from some of the nine Justices led by the Chief Justice.
Mabirizi wanted Justice Dollo to recuse himself from participating in the hearing and determining the said election on conflict of interest.
Some of the grounds that Mabirizi alleges include that the chief justice is a former lawyer of president Museveni having represented him in 2006 during the Presidential Petition filed by Dr. Kizza Besigye .
Mabirizi further alleges that Justice Dollo met President Museveni in private on the 7th of this month in tendency of the said petition which he says is not fair in the interest of serving justice although the NRM head of legal services Oscar Kihika has since responded the said allegations claiming that the said meeting was not about the pending election petition.
According to Mabirizi, the Supreme court has jurisdiction, powers and duty to make orders necessary to achieve the end of justice or to prevent the abuse of process of court even by justices of the court and set aside judgement proved to be null and void after they been passed to prevent the abuse of court processes.
Mabirizi also wanted the court to stay the supreme court ruling presided over by Justice Dollo that refused Kyagulanyi to amend his petition and bring fresh evidence saying the said rulling is null and void.
In the said election petition, National Unity platform party president Robert Kyagulanyi is suing president Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the attorney general.
He wants the last court to nullify President Museveni’s 14th January 2021_victory on grounds that the said elections were not free and fair after not being conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the laws governing elections including the constitution and the Presidential elections act among others.
Other justices on the panel include Justice Dr Esther Kisaakye Kitimbo, Stella Arach-Amoko, Rubby Aweri Opio, Faith Essy Mwondha, Paul Kahaibale Mugamba, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Night Tuhaise, and Mike Chibita