Supreme Court ends Mabirizi’s ‘fishing expedition against Kadaga’
COURT | Maverick city lawyer Male Mabirizi’s arguments for insisting that Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga be summoned to the dock in Age Limit petition is a bag of “prolix“ and too “argumentative” to be given attention, the Supreme Court has ruled.
Mabirizi was seeking to cross-examine Kadaga before the hearing of the Supreme Court Age Limit appeal in January next year.
But in a rather detailed ruling on Friday, the highest court in the land dismissed the application before even hearing its merits on grounds the affidavit that Mabirizi had submitted violated the Supreme Court rules.
On Wednesday, the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, who led the seven-man panel, said that after going through both the affidavits filed by Mabirizi and the Attorney General who had been the respondent in this case, he found that they were full “conjectures”, “arguments”, “hearsay” and “opinions”.
Such affidavits, Katureebe opined, were in violation of rules of the Supreme Court rules which stipulate that affidavits should only comprise of facts.
Though Mabirizi had vehemently defended the manner in which he drafted his affidavit insisting it contained facts he knew about the case, Justices Katureebe , Jotham Tumwesigye, Stella Arach- Amoko, Ruby Aweri- Opio, Paul Mugamba, Lillian Tibatemwa- Ekirikubinza, and Eldad Mwangusya didn’t buy any of his arguments.
In reading out the ruling, Justice Mwangusya said that Mabirizi’s affidavit and that of the Attorney General were not properly drafted because they tended to argue the case instead of providing evidence on which the arguments will be based.
Affidavits, according to the justices of the Supreme Court, shouldn’t have arguments but they should provide evidence and facts to support the case.
“While we don’t find the affidavit to be scandalous,” Justice Mwangusya said while explaining why they were rejecting Mabirizi’s affidavit. “We find it to be prolix.”
A prolix means the affidavit was too tediously prolonged to be of importance to the court.
Why Mabirizi clamoured for Kadaga
Mabirizi decision to request Kadaga’s appearance stems from the scheduling conference of the petition in the Constitutional Court earlier this year.
He said when the parties appeared Justice Alfonse Owiny- Dollo, the Deputy Chief Justice, Christine Kaahwa, the acting Director of 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, said he was only served with supplementary affidavits of Jane Kibirige-Clerk to Parliament, Gen David Muhoozi-Chief of Defence Forces and Keith Muhakanizi, 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 said.
But the justices today brought to an end his “fishing expedition”, as Justice Katureebe termed it a couple of days ago, to an end since his affidavits weren’t professionally crafted.
“Since we have no affidavits supporting the case. It means there is no application before this court. So the application is dismissed with no costs, ” said Justice Mwangusya, who read the ruling on behalf of his colleagues said.
In his main appeal, which will be heard in January, Mabirizi accuses the Constitutional Court of failing to call Kadaga, who was in charge of the process to lift the age limits.
The Constitutional Court had promised to give a detailed reasoning in its judgment why it never called Kadaga but none of the five justices that heard the cas e followed through with that promise, in their respective judgments.
So the Supreme court has promised to deal with the issue of calling Kadaga when the appeal comes up in next month; not now as that would be contrary to the “sub judice rule.”