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Ugandan opposition leader Wine withdraws presidential election petition against Museveni

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine said on Monday he was withdrawing a court case challenging presidential election results that handed victory to incumbent Yoweri Museveni, alleging bias by Supreme Court justices hearing the case.

“We are withdrawing from the courts but we are not opting for violence. We are withdrawing the case from Mr. Owiny Dollo’s court, “Bobi Wine told a news conference in the capital Kampala.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has rejected the results of the January election and said he believed victory was stolen from him. A popstar and lawmaker, Wine, 39, was asking the court to overturn the results on several grounds including widespread use of violence.

Museveni, a former guerrilla leader who has led the East African country since 1986, was declared winner of the Jan. 14 election with 59% of the vote, while Wine was given 35%.

Bobi Wine’s petition withdrawal comes a day after President Museveni, Electoral Commission and Attorney General filed their 185 affidavits in response to the 53 grounds that NUP legal team had raised to prove that the election was rigged, and wasn’t free and fair.

On Sunday, lawyers of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) said that Bobi Wine faces heavy financial implications if he dares to withdraw the petition challenging Mr Museveni’s victory from the Supreme Court.

 Mr. Oscar Kihika, the director of the NRM legal department, told journalists at the weekend that the party will ask Bobi Wine to pay all the expenses the party incurred in preparation and responding to the election petition.

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and two justices of the Supreme Court last week refused to recuse themselves from hearing the petition as Bobi Wine had requested.

In a telephone interview, Mr Anthony Wameli, one of Bobi Wine’s lawyers, revealed that his client would be willing and ready to cover the said costs if the petition was withdrawn.

“That is a given; [that] once a matter is withdrawn, there are costs and one is expected to pay. I don’t think my client has a problem with paying the costs. My client [Kyagulanyi] is aware of it,” Mr. Wameli said.


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