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Drama as Mabirizi, Justice Ssekaana Clash in Open Court :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Drama as Mabirizi, Justice Ssekaana Clash in Open Court

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After delivering his verdict, Justice Ssekaana allowed Mabirizi to speak out what he called “his rubbish he had earlier wanted to raise”. In his response, Mabirizi asked the judge to step out of the case, saying he worked as a lawyer for Electoral Commission since 2001, which casts doubt on his impartiality. He also noted that Justice Ssekaana’s conduct and discipline as a judge are wanting.
17 Dec 2019 20:35
Lawyer Male Mabirizi on the Right chatting with Lukwago's Photographer at Court

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The High Court Civil Division was a scene of drama on Tuesday evening as Male Mabirizi exchanged words with Justice Musa Ssekana. The two had a verbal exchange when Justice Sekaana showed up to deliver his ruling on application in, which Mabirizi and Erias Lukwago wanted court to summon Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama for cross examination.

The two wanted Byabakama examined on his defense in a suit where he is jointly sued with the Attorney General for alleged failure to resign as a Court of Appeal judge following his appointment to the Commission. However, Mabirizi first told the judge that he wasn’t ready to receive the ruling. Despite this, Ssekaana went ahead and delivered his ruling, in which he declined to summon Justice Byabakama.

 He argued that the applicants failed to make a case for his court to exercise its discretion to summon Byabakama to appear for cross examination. Justice Ssekaana also argued that granting the applicant’s prayers to cross examine the respondent, would defeat the provision for expediting the disposal of the matter under the rules governing applications filed for judicial review.

After delivering his verdict, Justice Ssekaana allowed Mabirizi to speak out what he called “his rubbish he had earlier wanted to raise”. In his response, Mabirizi asked the judge to step out of the case, saying he worked as a lawyer for Electoral Commission since 2001, which casts doubt on his impartiality. He also noted that Justice Ssekaana’s conduct and discipline as a judge are wanting. 

Mabirizi listed a number of cases where Sekaana represented Electoral Commission, which the judge conceded. He cited the case when Kabagambe Asol sued Electoral Commission for nominating Dr. Kiiza Besigye for the 2006 Presidential elections while in prison and the petition of Muwanga Lutaya against Kenneth Lubogo.

Mabirizi noted that since Justice Ssekaana had conceded to have represented the Commission, he had made his case easy. He also said that he wasn’t surprised that the Judge had told him to “speak his rubbish” as he made his arguments. Mabirizi told the Judge that it doesn't make sense for him to appear before a Judge who favors Electoral Commission.  Ssekaana wouldn’t have any of this. 

He told Mabirizi that he could order for his arrest for turning his court like a Local Council one court by speaking what he called “rubbish”. "We are human beings, you can't play for the gallery and then think everyone is willing to listen to the same nonsense", said Ssekaana. The tension turned tense as the judge called for the Court Orderly to arrest Mabirizi. 

He later directed Mabirizi to wrap up his submissions, arguing that it was raining and their homes were reportedly flooding. Senior Lawyers who were in Court like Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Erias Lukwago apologized to the Judge for Mabirizi's conduct, arguing that he isn’t an Advocate. Lukwago later asked Justice Ssekaana to assure them of Justice, saying his court environment hadn’t promised the same because of his harsh tone. 

Ssekana asked the parties to file written submissions to allow whoever judge takes over the matter to read and make his verdict. This matter arose from consolidated cases filed by 14 leaders of the People's Government and Mabirizi seeking court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Byabakama from holding as the Chairperson of Electoral Commission before he resigns from the Appellant court. 

The People's Government also want court to order that the Electoral Commission Secretary, Sam Rwakojo to vacate office, saying his contract expired in September and the same can't be renewed twice in as far as the rules governing the Commission are concerned.

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