Uganda’s opposition leader Bobi Wine has withdrawn a petition seeking to overturn the result of Uganda’s recent presidential election. Wine made the announcement on Monday during a press conference at his party’s headquarters in Kampala.
“We have decided to remove our case from Owinyi Dollo’s court because that does not look like a court that will give justice to the people of Uganda,” Wine said.
On the 16th of January, President Museveni was declared the winner of Uganda’s presidential election. Wine immediately pushed back against the Electoral Commission’s declaration, claiming the election was rigged, while observers and human rights groups have raised concerns that the vote was not credible.
During the press conference, Wine claimed that he was forced to withdraw the case because he believed the Supreme Court could not be impartial. He cited a recent meeting between President Museveni and Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, in which Owiny-Dollo allegedly lobbied the president to enact judicial reforms a year from now.
“This shows that the Chief Justice has a pre-determined mind which, in a way, communicates to the nation that to him, Museveni will be president a year from now, even when he had a petition before him,” Wine said. “The world has been watching the biased tendencies that have been exposed.”
Wine added that by petitioning the Supreme Court, he had always intended on either getting justice or exposing a corrupt judiciary.
“We were sceptical [about going to court],” he said. “There were two schools of thought: one held a firm belief that going to the Supreme Court to challenge the election was a waste of time because…the judiciary had been reduced to a mockery. And another, which we agreed with, said that much as the judiciary has been reduced to a mockery, it is an institution that we believe in while we might not believe in the people that are superintending over it.”
Wine closed the press conference by promising that his campaign will not turn to violence. In 1980, President Museveni lost an election to the then-incumbent President Milton Obote and proceeded to petition the court. Museveni would later withdraw the petition and launch a guerilla war that brought him to power six years later.
“We are peaceful and we shall not use violence as Museveni did,” Wine said. “We are going to the court of public opinion, we are going to the court of the people of Uganda.”
Wine’s decision to withdraw the petition comes just a few days after the Supreme Court rejected his lawyer’s application to file additional evidence in the case.