Justice Tuhaise recuses herself from Kabaka land case

By Sania Babirye

Supreme Court Justice Percy Tuhaise has recused herself from a land and compensation case filed by City Lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi against the Kabaka of Buganda.

Mabirizi petitioned the Supreme Court asking Justice Tuhaise to remove herself from the said case, on grounds that Justice Tuhaise had heard the same case in the Court of Appeal in which she ruled against Mabirizi , forcing him to petition the Supreme court to challenge her decision.

And as a result, Justice Tuhaise stepped down from the said case explaining that for justice to be served, she cannot be a judge in her own case which she had set aside.

Meanwhile, Mabirizi revealed that he has since then challenged the decision by other four justices on the panel to not recuse themselves from the same case in the East African Court of Justice.

On the 5th of this month, Justices including Apio Aweri, Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba and Mike Chibita refused to recuse themselves from the said case after Mabirizi accused them of unprofessionalism.

Mabirizi states that the said justices can not hear his case because he dragged them before the Judicial Service Commission for allegedly violating their Judicial Oaths and investigations are ongoing.

"They all have to go because am not comfortable with either of them trying my case independently well knowing that I have a petition against them seeking for their removal from their respective offices". Mabirizi stated.

Mabirizi adds that he has filed an application to stay their proceedings until they recuse themselves.

He also expressed his frustration with the slow pace that his appeal has taken since filing it in 2018.

"When I filed this appeal in 2018, I expected speedy justice but the court delayed because its hearing was not fixed until 2020, we need speed and I need it, but the most important thing is fair hearing. We can not compromise a year aspect of fair hearing in the name of expediting the hearing"

According to Mabirizi, on the 19th of March this year, he wrote to the Judicial Service Commission seeking for the removal of the said justices from office of the Justices of the Supreme Court on grounds of conduct in a manner prejudicial to the good image, honor, dignity and reputation of Judicial service and discrimination of Justice Kisakye, on basis of her sex which was in contravention of the code of Judicial Conduct and abuse of Judicial Authority.

Mabirizi accuses the said justices of allegedly helping the Chief Justice Alifonse Owinyi Dollo to confiscate Supreme Court Justice Esther Kisakye's dissenting judgement in the concluded Presidential election petition filed by National Unity Platform Party President Robert Kyagulanyi.

He states that the alleged misconduct of the said Justices, breeds animosity between him and the justices, and questions their Impartiality in a case were he is an appellant.

The Supreme Court dismissed two Applications filed by Mabirizi challenging the Kabaka of Buganda's powers to collect annual nominal ground rent commonly known as (Busuulu) on Kabaka land by Buganda Land Board last year.

In the main case to be heard tomorrow, Mabirizi is challenging the Court of Appeal ruling that overturned an order by High Court’s Justice Patricia Basaza to Kabaka to give Mabirizi all particulars in regard to the kingdom’s accounts in the names of Buganda Land Board.

Mabirizi claims that many people's freedom and rights to property have been violated by the kabaka's actions of charging between 100,000 and 600,000 for compulsory land.

In 2017, the Court of appeal quashed the high court order on grounds that it was unlawful since Mabirizi did not prove to court that he was representing many other people whose freedom and rights to property had been violated by the Kabaka's actions.

However, being dissatisfied with the court of appeal ruling, Mabirizi petitioned the supreme court to have the said ruling over turned.

Mabirizi wants among other things the supreme court to order Kabaka to produce all the particulars of the people living on mailo land and details of the money collected from them since 1993.