Mabirizi now runs to Supreme Court to compel Kabaka to produce bank statements
COURT | Maverick city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi is not a man who gives up without climbing to the highest rung of the ladder in pursuit of what he believes in. His latest climb is the Supreme Court where he seeks to compel the Kabaka of Buganda to produce bank statements.
On Monday, Mabirizi saw his earlier victory at the High Court overturned by Court of Appeal, but in less than 24 hours, he had furnished the Supreme Court with 44 reasons to form a basis on which he says the appellant court decision should be trashed.
Mabirizi has no kind words for the Court of Appeal. Justice Frederick Martin Egonda -Ntende, Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Hellen Obura trashed High Court Judge Patricia Waswa Basaza’s orders issued last years on grounds that they were erroneously given out.
“The 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.
Kabaka’s decision to run to the Court of Appeal was arrived at after Basaza astounded the country when she ordered hereditary King of Buganda to present all details regarding the kingdom’s accounts in Stanbic Bank (Forest Mall Branch) and Bank of Africa (Main Branch) in the names of Buganda Land Board and the kingdom’s mailo land returned by the central government.
Mabirizi insists that these details will help him pursue his High Court case challenging Kabaka’s collecting ground rent fees (obusulu) through the Buganda Land Board as illegal.
Appellant judges accused
In his Notice of Appeal at the Supreme Court, Mabirizi accuses the three judges of proceeding to determine the merits of Kabaka’s appeal yet Justices Muhanguzi and Obura didn’t agree with some of Egonda-Ntende’s findings.
Egonda-Ntende according to Mabirizi ruled that the appeal was competently before the court but the other two justices didn’t agree. Mabirizi had argued during submissions that the appeal should be dismissed on grounds that it was filed out of time.
Mabirizi poked holes into the ruling saying it exceeded the scope of Kabaka’s appeal pleadings.
The Kabaka’s legal team was only challenging disclosure of bank transactions as ordered by Basaza but Mabirzi says the Court of Appeal ruling went beyond and determined that his ongoing High Court case is another waste of time.
A lawyer without practicing certificate, Mabirizi, seems to be alluding to Justice Egonda-Ntende analysis wherein he said they couldn’t agree with Basaza‘s order because courts cannot exercise their discretion to grant orders for discovery on oath and inspection based on a case that is “not maintainable in law”.
It’s Egonda-Ntende’s perspective that Mabirizi’s High Court case challenging the compulsory registration of people living on the king’s land, point to private rights rather than infringement of fundamental human rights or freedoms.
“No one is alleged to have been unlawfully deprived of his or her land. Neither is the land in question specified in relation to any particular person as a victim of the violation,” ruled Justice Egonda – Ntende.
However, Mabirizi sees a loophole here since Egonda–Ntende, who is at the appeals level and wrote the lead judgment, ventured into the merits of his case before the High Court.
He says the Supreme Court should find that such a practice isn’t tenable.
The Court of Appeal, as far as Mabirizi is concerned, deviated from the issues framed by the parties and proceeded on what he calls “their own voyage.”
“…. They failed their duty, as a first appellant court to properly evaluate the material before them and hence reached wrong conclusions in settings aside the ruling of the judge,” Mabirizi says in defence of Basaza’s judgment.
He also takes issues with the Court of Appeal findings that in the case the Kabaka is representing himself and the people of Buganda tribe living on the official mailo land.
He said such finding was never supported by any pleadings filed by the Kabaka as a tribe as far as he is concerned has never been an element in all pleadings.
“It was nowhere in pleadings that the respondent [Kabaka] is representing other people,” Mabirizi goes on.