Makerere dons ask to join Amama petition


Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has set Monday 14 as the date when Supreme Court will sit again to make a ruling on whether election observers and Makerere University law lecturers should be allowed to join Amama Mbabazi’s election petition.

Nine Makerere University school of law lecturers and nine Civil Society Organizations applied to court to be allowed to join the petition.

They include; Prof. Oloka-Onyango, the lead applicant, Prof. Sylivia Tamale, Dr. Ronald Naluwaire, Dr. Rose Nakayi, Dr. Busingye Kabumba, Daniel Ruhweza, Dr. kakungulu Mayambala and Daniel Ngabirano.

The civil society organisations include; Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda), Chapter Four Uganda, Human Rights Network Uganda, Center for Constitutional Governance, Kituo Cha Katiba- Eastern Africa Center for Constitutional Development, Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda and Transparency International.

Robert Kirunda, who represented Makerere dons said in his submission that parties seeking to be “amicus curiae” have the sole purpose of aiding the court in reaching a just reason.

However, President Museveni’s lawyer Byenkya Herbert said court must choose its friends carefully.

“One of the applicants previously referred to 1st respondent (Museveni) as a “dictator in a suit”,” he said.

The Electoral Commission (second respondent) lawyer MacDusman Kabega said given timeline, the issue of amicus curiae is putting the court off the line.

When reminded that his claim that the issue of bias is outdated, Kabega said: “This is a fishing expedition and adds no value to Amama Mbabazi. There’s individual interest by the applicants and this will not benefit the citizenry.”

Museveni’s lawyer also reminded court that Crispy Kaheru, one of the applicants is a relative of one of the candidates, Besigye.

“When the friend of court is close to one of the parties, many will not believe justice has been served. They bring nothing and are biased. I pray that this application be dismissed with costs,” Byenkya prayed.

Civil Society Organisations’ lawyer Nicholas Opiyo replied thus: “To expect them (applicants) not to make these statements is to run them out of business.”

Opiyo argued that court maintains powers to guide those admitted as amici curiae to keep them from being biased for “in determining neutrality, court must consider facts before it not those outside such”.

He said they want to help court with facts.

“We don’t seek to expand the scope but rather, we seek to provide the court with facts.”

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe then said following one petition he was part of, recommendations were made but were not followed.

“Opinions and recommendations for the court should be taken seriously. We are applying the Constitution and law as it is now. We will deliver our ruling on this (amicus curiae application) first thing on Monday.”


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