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Owiny-Dollo refuses to step down from Bobi Wine petition

Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo. Courtesy Photo

Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny Dollo has refused to recuse himself from a petition filed by National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, challenging the reelection of Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni.

Perennial litigant Male Mabirizi had asked Owiny Dollo to step down from the case since he has previously defended respondent Museveni in a previous petition.

Owiny Dollo was a member of the Museveni defence team in the 2006 petition filed by Dr Kizza Besigye.

“I have said since My Lord was a hired lawyer, ask any reasonable man, they will tell you that a former lawyer can’t try his client,” submitted Mabirizi in his argument.

“I don’t have any personal grudge against you. I have no grudge about your capacity. I have actually won several cases before you.”

The chief justice wondered why Mabirizi, who had earlier said he believed he was a person “beyond reasonable,” thought that 15 years (since the 2006) was not a long time for him to have changed his mind on Museveni or for his defence of the president to still have influence on his decisions.

Owiny-Dollo also tasked Mabirizi to think about why Parliament approved his appointment, even when the appointments committee was aware he had been the president’s lawyer.

In the end, Owiny-Dollo refused to recuse himself from the petition, but did not explain his decision in detail.

“I have listened carefully to the submissions by the applicant, well-argued; for the reasons I will give in my detailed ruling to be delivered on notice, I decline to recuse, I find no merit in the application,” ruled Owiny-Dollo.

The ruling in the Mabirizi petition came a day after Bobi Wine announced he had instructed his lawyers to withdraw his petition from the Supreme Court.

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