Drama as Mabirizi is Flagged off to E. A court to battle Museveni

Simon Wanyera and Semakade from the Legal Brains Trust flagging off Mabirizi at the Supreme Court in Kampala, yesterday. Photo by Wilfred Sanya

There was drama yesterday at the Supreme Court in Kololo, a city suburb, as lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi was flagged off to the East African Court of Justic

Mabirizi is slated to argue the age limit case, that starts on October 29.

At about 10:30 am, Mabirizi arrived at the Supreme Court, accompanied by Isaac Semakadde, another lawyer.

They carried several documents which they placed at the Supreme Court main entrance. Police personnel on guard monitored the events.

They looked on as Semakadde later dressed Mabirizi in a tunic ( kanzu ) and handed him a stick, which he said, was a symbol of authority.

On May 3, this year, Mabirizi petitioned the court seeking nullification of the Constitutional Amendment Act 2018, which okayed the removal of presidential age limits.

Mabirizi’s appeal followed a Supreme Court verdict in which majority justices (4:3) dismissed an appeal in the matter, arguing that despite several breaches which occurred during the tabling, debating and passing of the Bill, it had no substantive effect on the process of the entire enactment of the Act.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, Rubby Opio Awen, Stella Arach Amoko and Jotham Tumwesigye, upheld the appeal, while Eldad Mwangusya, Lillian Tibatemwa- Ekirikubinza and Paul Mugamba, dissented. Mabirizi urged Ugandans to take a keen interest in the matter, noting that it is crucial when it comes to the rule of law and democracy in Uganda.

Five judges of the First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice will hear the case. These are Monica Mugenyi, who has been elevated by President Yoweri Museveni to the Court of Appeal.

Others are Principal Judge Dr. Faustin Ntezilyayo, Audance Ngiye, Charles Nyawello and Charles Nyachae.

Attorney General rubbishes the case Attorney General William Byaruhanga, however, wants the case dismissed with costs, saying it is a disguised appeal because there is no provision of the East African Community treaty, that was contravened by the Supreme Court when it okayed Constitution Amendment Act No. 1 of 2018.

Byaruhanga says the Supreme Court of Uganda is the final appellate in matters regarding the interpretation of the Constitution. Byaruhanga contends that the issues raised in Mabirizi’s reference were duly adjudicated and conclusively determined by the Supreme Court.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.