KAMPALA, Uganda: The city’s top litigating lawyer of the moment has kicked off a fresh legal storm. He has dismissed the petition filed by the highly regarded law don Prof. Fredrick Ssempeebwa as misguided.
Ssempeebwa filed the case at the opening of the week. He is asking the Supreme Court justices to hold Attorney General William Byaruhanga in contempt for refusing to table before parliament electoral reforms pointed out by the same court in a judgment in the 2016 Presidential election petition of John Patrick Amama Mbabazi.
Byaruhanga was supposed to table the electoral reforms within two years from the date of the judgement. The deadline has since elapsed with Byaruhanga only tabling reforms that saw the presidential age-limit of 75 erased from the Constitution to the joy of the person of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, since he can now stand as long as he wishes.
“You can quote me on this, what Ssempeebwa calls electoral reforms….the ones for which he wants Byaruhanga (Attorney General) to be fired… for purportedly refusing to push them through parliament… were merely wishes of the justices of the Supreme Court,” Mabirizi has told this website today.
According to Mabirizi the only declaration that the justices made was in regard to the incompetence of the petition filed by Mbabazi. “The rest of the things Ssempeebwa is relying on in an attempt to hold Byaruhanga in contempt of the judgment are merely wishes of the justices of the supreme court. In any case, the justices rightly refer to them as recommendations by themselves,” Mabirizi asserts.
No stranger to controversy
Mabirizi wrote history when he questioned the Kabaka’s hold on land in Buganda. He was in effect questioning the central government’s (read President Yoweri Museveni’s) wisdom in returning land to the Kabaka which he is now leasing out to bibanja holders.
He weighed in more by asking the courts of law to stop the “Kyapa Mu Ngalo”, a project through which the Kabaka has been leasing out land to bibanja holders for a fee. He even asked court to order the Kabaka to produce details of the bank accounts on which proceeds from leasing bibanja is being deposited for scrutiny.
Justice Waswa Basaza of the land division granted his wish, though it was reversed on review. But Mabirizi has since filed a bill amounting to billions of shillings which he demands must be paid by the Kabaka as legal fees he (Mabirizi) expended on pursuing the application.
Mabirizi is on record suing Gen. Yoweri Museveni and asking the courts of law to declare him an invalidly elected president. He lost but he proceeded to the Supreme Court insisting the learned justice of the Supreme Court grossly erred in ruling as they did.
A story is told of how Mabirizi dragged his own father to court, yes. The old man had borrowed money from the money lending company owned by his son. It is known as MK Financers. The old man failed to return the money. This is when Mabirizi dragged him to court. Poor man ended up jailed until Mabirizi’s siblings and relatives raised the money and paid up.
He is currently suing Museveni’s former media aide, Tamale Mirundi for calling him an errand boy of the powerful foreign affairs minister Sam Kahamba Kuteesa. Tamale made the assertions during a radio talk-show. He said it is Kuteesa who finances Mabirizi to pursue the legal cases he is engaged in. Mabirizi wants proof from the fire-spitting Mirundi besides a hefty compensation.
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