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Age limit: Supreme Court tasks Mabirizi on summoning Kadaga to the dock

COURT | The Supreme Court has raised question marks over Male Mabirizi’s quest to summon Rebecca Kadaga the Speaker of Parliament for examination before hearing of the Supreme Court Age-limit appeal in January, next year.

The hearing of Mabirizi’s application came up Wednesday but Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, who led other seven other justices, had different ideas.

After assessing both the affidavits filed by Mabirizi and the Attorney General who is the respondent in
the case, CJ Katureebe said that they were full of conjectures, arguments, hearsay and opinions.

Sendo Cleaners

Such affidavits, Katureebe opined, are in violation of rules of the Supreme Court which stipulate that affidavits should only comprise of facts.

Another query that Katureebe has with Mabirizi‘s case is that his desire to call Kadaga isn’t based on the desire to get new information but to “elucidate some of the evidence” which is already on record.

The Chief Justice intimated that such motives might not have a legal basis and thus needed Mabirizi’s explanation before they go further.

Katureebe, who was being assisted by Justices: Jotham Tumwesigye, Stella Arach- Amoko, Ruby Aweri- Opio, Paul Mugamba, Lillian Tibatemwa- Ekirikubinza, Eldad Mwangusya and Paul Mugamba, told Mabirizi hearing his application therein he seeks to grill Kadaga will only be possible if he gives satisfactory answers to the the queries raised.

Katureebe, having laid out his misgivings, allowed Mabirizi to defend his affidavit. He insisted his affidavit is in- line with Supreme court rules since he “included everything he knows” about the
case, something he said courts in the past have allowed.

Though Katureebe, Arach-Amoko and Mwangusya pointed out paragraphs in Mabrizi’s affidavit that they deem to be “conjecture or arguments” Mabirizi was simply having none of it.

“These are facts the way I know them,” Mabirizi asserted as Justice Katureebe shake his head.

“As a lawyer I can put anything I know of, in my affidavit supporting my case.”

State responds

On his part, Francis Atoke, the solicitor general who made the case for the Attorney General, said the least at sixes and sevens. He agreed with court that Mabirizi’s affidavit had issues but he never wanted to concede that the one the Attorney General filed responding paragraph for paragraph was equally problematic.

Justice Mwangusya told him that his affidavit equally had not facts but rather arguments but Atoke had no clear answer to the judge’s assertion.

He could only say that they wanted challenge Mabiriz’s affidavit and approach once the main case is heard. But Atoke wouldn’t agree that his affidavit was simply not admissible like that of Mabirizi’s.

Justice Katureebe, later informed court they will rule on Friday if they have allowed the affidavits by either party or not.

Mabirizi decision to request Kadaga’s appearance stems from thescheduling conference of the petition in the Constitutional Court earlier this year.

He says when the parties appeared Justice Alfonse Owiny- Dollo, the Deputy Chief Justice, Christine Kaahwa, the acting Director Civil Litigation pleaded with court to allow her file supplementary affidavits because her client, the Speaker of Parliament was not in position to swear an affidavit at that time since she was out of the Country.

Instead, Mabirizi, says he was only served with supplementary affidavits of Jane Kibirige-Clerk to Parliament, Gen David Muhoozi, the Chief of Defence Forces, and Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the Treasury; all detailing their respective roles in the process leading to the law, but no affidavit was sworn by the Speaker.

“The conspicuous absence of an affidavit from the Speaker of Parliament who presided over all the processes resulting into the disputed law, in which process she took several decisions which are
now under challenge put me on notice that there was a deliberate plan to deny me the evidence which would be so essential in determination of the petition, then before the lower court,” Mabirizi says.

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