Controversial lawyer and judicial activist Male Mabirizi is in the news yet again after he petitioned the Electoral Commission seeking a referendum on the continued existence of the Kingdom of Buganda.
In a letter that Mabirizi personally shared on social media, he writes to the Secretary of the Commission seeking a referendum for the abolition of the institute of the Kabaka of Buganda.
“I am a resident of Mackenzie village, Kololo I Parish, Kampala Central Subcounty, Kampala Central Division County, Kampala District, within Buganda Kingdom, as per article 5(4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (as amended). I am writing in line with article 255 (1) of the constitution and Section 11 of the Referendums and Other Provisions Act, 2005.” Mabirizi’s letter begins.
Mabirizi notes that the institution of the Kabaka was reinstated in line with constitutional provisions hinged on the wishes and aspirations of the people whom would be governed. But what troubles him most is that land in excess of 664 square miles that the Kabaka holds in trust for his people has been ‘mismanaged’ with no accountability whatsoever.
“25 years down the road, no accountability has been given to the beneficiaries who have been turned into tenants, forced to register at exorbitant fees, charged transaction fees, ground rent and other tax like fees on land.” Mabirizi further states.
He says that it is on those grounds that he has been moved to seek a referendum on whether the institution should be abolished. He asks the Electoral Commission to avail him with the number of voters in all districts within Buganda so that he is able to collect the mandatory 1/3 signatures of registered voters to support his petition.
“I also hope that you inform the Inspector General of Police about our activities so that we are not antagonized by his errant officers.” He concluded.
In June this year, three justices of the Court of Appeal dismissed (with costs) an application in which Mabirizi wanted to recover billions of shillings from the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II as costs arising out of the notice of appeal which he (Kabaka) withdrew.
The trial judge had noted, and rightly so as was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, that Mabirizi neither had permission to sue Kabaka on behalf of others nor a court order permitting him to sue on behalf of others adding that the individuals he claimed to be representing were not named.
Mabirizi was ordered to pay costs to Kabaka for wasting his time in prosecuting a case which was incomplete.