The Uganda Peoples’ Defense Force (UPDF) and the Uganda Prison Service have submitted their defense in response to petitions filed by Lawyer Male Mabirizi at the Soroti High Court. Mabirizi lodged a Judicial Review Application aiming to prevent Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba from engaging in political activities.
Another petition sought the unconditional release of prisoners charged under the nullified narcotics law by the Constitutional Court in 2023. The petition against UPDF and the Attorney General centers on Gen. Muhoozi’s alleged involvement in an unauthorized group called MK Movement/MK Army in Teso in August 2023.
Mabirizi contends that Gen. Muhoozi, a UPDF officer, engaged in political gatherings in breach of the country’s legal provisions. Mabirizi requests the court to declare Gen. Muhoozi’s alleged political activities illegal, beyond the scope of a serving military officer’s duties, irrational, and procedurally incorrect. He also seeks an order to annul Gen. Muhoozi’s political engagements in Teso and compel the Chief of Defense Force to prohibit Gen. Muhoozi from further political involvement.
However, Col. Moses Wandera, the UPDF Deputy Chief of Legal Services, asserts they have no knowledge of the MK Movement. He clarifies that Gen. Muhoozi solely participated in a thanksgiving event hosted by the Speaker of Parliament, Annet Anita Among. “This application is incompetent before this court as the respondents have not made any decisions to be reviewed by this honourable court,” Col. Wandera said in his affidavit filed on November 16, 2023.
Col. Wandera argues that Mabirizi’s application lacks substance as no decisions by the respondents warrant review. He deems the petition frivolous and vexatious with no cause of action against the Attorney General. Both UPDF and the Uganda Prison Service seek dismissal of the applications with costs.
Christopher Okware, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, clarifies that the Constitutional Court ruling did not order the release of individuals convicted under the nullified narcotics law. “The respondents are mandated under the law to hold persons convicted and sentenced by a court of law until they have served their sentence or by an order of the court requiring their release or production in court,” Okware said.
The cases are scheduled for December 13, 2023, before the Soroti High Court Registrar. Mabirizi’s legal challenges also encompass the government’s salary increments, particularly addressing perceived disparities between science-based and arts professionals in the public sector.