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Kabaka not a public servant, can’t submit bank detail to Mabirizi — court rules

COURT | Male Mabirizi’s challenge of Kabaka’s collection of ground rent fees (obusulu) through the Buganda Land Board is baseless, a judge has ruled.

Justice Henry Peter Adonyo on Wednesday dismissed the grounds that that the Court of Appeal had declared Mabirizi wrongly filed the case under Article 50 of the Constitution, which doesn’t provide for private rights.

In September, Court of Appeal Justices, Fredrick Martin Egonda-Ntende, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi overturned the High Court’s decision ordering the Kabaka to present to Mabirizi all details of the kingdom’s accounts in Stanbic Bank (Forest Mall Branch) and Bank of Africa (Main Branch) in the names of Buganda Land Board.

The judges said that they couldn’t allow Mabirizi access such documents because even his primary case in the High Court was “not maintainable in law”.

The Court of Appeal judges ruled that since the matter does not qualify as a public law action, it cannot be maintained and therefore the application for disclosure and inspection cannot be necessary.

“The appellant (Kabaka) is not a government or public authority who wields governmental powers and in acting out of the actions complained of (by Mabirizi), there is no assertion that he is exercising governmental authority,” ruled the judges.

This made Justice Adonyo’s work very easy. The judge explained that since a panel of three judges of the court of appeal had declared the case in which Mabirizi challenges the compulsory registration of the tenants occupying the Buganda Kingdom Land hence the same was not tenable at a lower court adding that it was only prudent to throw it out.

“I add that there being no cause for this court to adjudicate upon, it’s now left upon the applicant at the Supreme Court to seek orders either for reinstatement of the same cause or alternatively file another suit whichever will be applicable.”

In his suit, Mabirizi had contended that he represents himself and the people from Buganda living on the official mailo land but in Monday’s ruling, the judges dismissed it saying there is no proof to show that he was acting on behalf of people from Buganda because he had not mentioned any of them.

“The action on behalf of other persons who are not named and whose consent has not been obtained is a representative action and is unlawful,” the judges contended.

Speaking after the court verdict, Mabirizi didn’t hold back.

“Dismissing the case is wrong because the Supreme Court is now determining the appeal on whether the discovery was proper and this discovery was on the case so you can’t you can’t dismiss the case,” he said.

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