Mabirizi's Case Referred to Civil Division

In May 2021, Mabirizi filed an application before the Civil Division of High Court in Kampala seeking to block the ongoing recruitment of Judicial Officers on grounds that the process being taken was not transparent and was allegedly characterized by corruption and favoritism.

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The High Court in Mukono has referred to the Civil Division, a case filed by City Lawyer Male Mabirizi seeking to block the recruitment of judicial officers.

In an order signed by Justice David Batema, the Mukono Resident Judge, Mabirizi's case falls within the jurisdiction of the High Court Civil Division in Kampala.

"After consulting with the Principal Judge, I hereby transfer the matter to Civil Division at Kampala for better management," wrote Justice Batema in an order dated June 22nd 2021 and received by the Civil Division of High Court on 28th June 2021.

Last month, Mabirizi petitioned the High Court seeking to halt the recruitment process of judicial officers by the Judicial Service Commission- JSC.  

Mabirizi in documents filed before the Civil Division wants an injunction restraining the Commission from proceeding with the process undertaken and decisions it has reached in shortlisting, interviewing, appointing and recommending to the President for appointment of applicants for Judicial Officers. 

He wants the Commission, a statutory body charged with the recruitment and regulation of the conduct of judicial officers restrained until the determination of the main case which is challenging the legality of the process being followed to conduct the recruitment.

The case was allocated to Justice Emmanuel Baguma who also referred the matter to Justice Musa Ssekaana. Justice Ssekaana perused through the file and observed that a similar case was filed twice by Mabirizi on different occasions and withdrawn twice also on different occasions in the same month.

The records show that Mabirizi kept withdrawing his cases from the Civil Division after learning that they had been allocated to Justice Ssekaana with whom they have been conflicting since 2019 during the failed application challenging the Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama's failure to relinquish his powers as the Court of Appeal Judge.

Justice Baguma the Deputy Head of Civil Division said that he didn't see any reason for withdrawing those cases and there were no minutes from Ssekaana to show why the Mabirizi had withdrawn them.

However, when the matter was sent back to Ssekaana, he wrote a two paged letter warning Mabirizi and Civil Division Registry officials never to accept and register a similar case in what he described as forum shopping.

"The games you are playing in filing the same matter several times to get a favourable judge will not be entertained. I have directed the court registry to return your application filed or left in court and the same shall not be received or entered in the register of the court”, wrote Ssekaana.

Mabirizi decided to file a similar case in Mukono arguing that the law governing withdrawals has no limit on how many times one can file and withdraw.

However, Mabirizi says that Justice Batema issued the order in the absence of both parties.

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