First son and presidential advisor on special duties Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has been dragged to the East African Court of Justice by lawyer Male Mabirizi.
Mabirizi is seeking a permanent injunction to restrain Muhoozi, a serving Ugandan army officer from organizing and addressing political rallies and gatherings.
Mabirizi also wants the court to order the speaker of parliament, members of parliament, ministers, police and military commanders, officers, resident district commissioners, and government and local government officials from watching, guarding, participating in organizing or any other related activity in furtherance of Muhoozi’s political activities as long as he is still a serving military officer.
Mabirizi contends that being a serving officer, section 99 of the UPDF Act 2005 prohibits him from participating in politics. He argues that Muhoozi has continuously breached this as he has held rallies at Entebbe, Mubende-Kasambya, and Kabale within the last 60 days.
“Worst of all, speaker of parliament Anita Among, ministers, members of parliament who are required by article 79 of the constitution to protect the constitution and promote democratic governance, UPDF and police officers who are required to be non-partisan and resident district commissioners who are public servants are fully participating in this illegality. That’s why there is a need for the East African Court of Justice to issue a permanent injunction against them,” says Mabirizi.
The events Mabirizi is referring to are said to have been held in Lira on March 28, Entebbe on March 26, Kasambya-Mubende on April 19, and Kabale. Mabirizi contends that Muhoozi made political promises surrounding infrastructure, sports, and fighting corruption, among others while at those events.
“And I know that such was in direct contravention of Uganda People’s Defence Forces Act, 2005 which prohibit serving officers from participating in politics and amounted to an abuse of state resources for personal benefit,” reads the petition.
According to Mabirizi, the actions are unlawful and infringe on the fundamental and operational principles of the East African Community such as good governance, adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, and the maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights.
Mabirizi wants the East African Court of Justice to declare Muhoozi’s actions as illegal and go ahead and award him general damages and costs of the case.
The East African Court which is based in Arusha, Tanzania has now given the Attorney General of Uganda who is the only respondent in this case, 45 days within which to file his defense against the actions of Muhoozi.
This is not the first case that is being filed against Muhoozi’s actions since he openly declared his bid to replace his father Museveni as the President of Uganda.
On May 7, 2022, human rights lawyer Gawaya Tegule sued the attorney general and Muhoozi in his individual capacity seeking an order restraining Muhoozi to desist from carrying on political activities while he is still a serving officer in the army.
In his petition which is still pending a hearing in the Constitutional court, Gawaya also wants Muhoozi prosecuted for treason because of the pronouncements on his Twitter handle, which he says are political in nature and aimed at taking over power as successor to his father using methods and means that are not consistent with the constitution.
The suit was filed at the time when Muhoozi and his supporters had several birthday celebrations in different parts of the country. Evidence before the court shows that Muhoozi’s actions are inconsistent and in contravention of article 208(2) of the constitution which states that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces shall be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive, and subordinate to the civilian authority as established under the constitution.
Last week, in the latest public endorsement of his son’s actions, Museveni met the members of the MK Movement, a pressure group formed to solicit and rally people to support Muhoozi’s bid for the presidency. The details of the meeting which took place in Entebbe however are still scanty.