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Setback for Mabirizi's Bid to Prosecute Police, Army Officers for Shooting-to-Kill Order

Mabirizi had on July 13, filed an oath of complaint against AIGP Ochom, Stephen Tanui, the Kampala Metropolitan Area Police Commander, and Lt. Col. Fred Mwesigye, the commandant of UPDF’s operation Tokora. According to him, the order by the accused persons made on June 29, at the Mukono district grounds in Mukono district is against human rights as suspects are entitled to a fair hearing.
Male Mabirizi looking through his documents while in a dock at Mukono Chief Magistrates court
Mukono Grade I magistrate, Paul Matyama has dismissed jailed city lawyer Male Mabirizi’s petition against retired Director of Operations in the Uganda Police Force, Edward Ochom, and two others over their shoot-to-kill orders against aggravated robbery suspects.

Mabirizi  had on July 13, filed an oath of complaint against AIGP Ochom, Stephen Tanui, the Kampala Metropolitan Area Police Commander, and Lt. Col. Fred Mwesigye, the commandant of UPDF’s operation Tokora.

According to him, the order by the named persons made on June 29, at the Mukono district grounds in Mukono district is against human rights as suspects are entitled to a fair hearing.

Mabirizi run to court to charge the trio with derogation of a non-derogable right and freedom guaranteed under the constitution contrary to the Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2019 and to have the accused summoned which was in vain.

While delivering his ruling, magistrate Matyama concluded that the magistrates’ court has no jurisdiction to listen to the case.

He said that the private prosecutor (Male) submitted his complaint under article 28 (5) of the constitution demanding that any other step forward may be made in the accused’s presence relaying on the justice Lamech Mukasa in the case of Basajabalaba Vs. Kakande Benard No. 2 of 2013.

“Upon addressing myself with the laws by the private prosecutor in his complaint on oath and his oral submission before me, I have found it needful to interrogate whether this court has jurisdiction to handle this matter,” the magistrate read.

“...I therefore find that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear this complaint and I hereby dismiss it,” he ruled 

However, the private prosecutor still insisted on enlightening the magistrate on his right and the fact that his court still has jurisdiction under section 44 (c) of the constitution. 

He said that in the event court has doubt about having jurisdiction the appropriate step would be to forward the case to the High Court instead of dismissing it.

He also insisted that criminal summons be issued for the accused. 

Matyama maintained his status on the ruling and asked him to appeal if not satisfied with the ruling.

Mabirizi is currently serving a sentence of 18 months at Kitalya prison handed to him by High Court Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana for contempt of court on February 15, 2022.

  Background

The three senior officers gave the order on June 29 in Mukono district while addressing their juniors over the increasing cases of robbery in Mukono, days after at robbery at Spice Supermarket where the robbers shot a cashier, Irene Nakindi and took off with an unspecified sum of money.