Comic Mayambala Advised to File Formal Application to ‘Inherit’ Kyagulanyi’s Petition

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Independent presidential candidate Willy Mayambala at the National Tally Centre. Photo by Olive NakatuddeFormer Presidential Candidate Willy Mayambala has been advised to seek the services of a lawyer to file a formal application to take over a presidential election petition filed by his Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.

The advice from the Supreme Court follows a letter written by Mayambala on Thursday seeking to be guided on how he can take over the petition which Kyagulanyi was withdrawing from the court. The National Unity Platform lost interest in the petition after failing to submit several affidavits which they had collected from various parts of the country, as proof that the election cycle was characterized by violence, bribery, alteration of results, and intimidation, among others.

Kyagulanyi also cited the abduction and torture of witnesses, interference with his privacy by security operatives whom he said were working on the command of President Yoweri Museveni and the Attorney General who are the first and third respondents to the petition. However, the Registrar of the Supreme Court Harriet Nalukwago Ssali said that Mayambala needs to follow procedures laid out in the Presidential Elections Act, to inherit the petition.

Section 61(2) of the Presidential Election Act provides that on hearing of the application for withdrawing, any candidate who might have been a petitioner in respect of the election to which the petitioner refers may apply to the court to be substituted as a petitioner for the petitioner who desires to withdraw”.

The Registrar advised  Mayambala to seek the services of a lawyer with a view of filing a formal application. But Mayambala told URN that he had not yet seen the letter, and could not comment further on the matter or even engage any legal teams beforehand.

Mayambala who polled the least votes in a race that attracted 11 candidates had previously said that he was happy with the outcome of the January 14, 2021, general elections that saw the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni announced the winner with 68 per cent. He said that he had no intentions of challenging the Electoral Commission results issued by Justice Simon Byabakama.

When Kyagulanyi filed his application for withdrawing on Wednesday, a panel of nine Supreme Court Justices led by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo advised him to submit an affidavit from one of his lawyers supporting the withdrawal. The Registrar of the Supreme Court will now publish a copy of the application in the Uganda Gazette, in line with the laws governing the withdrawal of presidential election petitions.