By Farooq Kasule
High Court judge Musa Ssekaana has summoned city lawyer Male Mabirizi to appear in court tomorrow (Friday February 11, 2022) to show cause why he should not be committed to civil remand over contempt of court.
Mabirizi is accused of violating a court order issued by Ssekaana in which he was ordered to pay over sh300m for ridiculing High Court Judge Philip Odoki.
“Whereas Attorney General has made an application to this court for you to show cause why you should not be committed to prison for violation of a court order, you are hereby required to appear before this court on February 11, 2022 at 3:00pm to show cause why you should not be committed to prison for contempt of court,” the summons read in part.
Mabirizi, however, faults the judge, saying he entered the judgment against him erroneously without ascertaining whether the said Facebook account belongs to him.
He said he has since appealed against the decision.
Likely jail term
If Mabirizi fails to defend himself, he is likely to be jailed for not less than three years, a punishment which the Supreme Court handed to Ivan Ssebadduka in November 2020 over a similar matter.
A panel of seven justices of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, found Ssebaduka guilty of uttering statements that were tantamount to contempt of court.
Other justices were Stella Arach Amoko, Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Mike Chibita and Percy Night Tuhaise.
It all started when Ssebadduka filed a pre-presidential election petition against President Yoweri Museveni in the Supreme Court on September 4, 2020 seeking suspension of the 2021 general election due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The court dismissed the petition on grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to handle the case since it was not a petition challenging the election of President Museveni.
The court, however, found Ssebadduka in contempt of court for referring to the judges who presided over the case as “incompetent and fools”.
The Chief Justice said by referring to the judges as incompetent, Ssebadduka was in contempt of court.
Who is Mabirizi?
Mabirizi was born in 1987 to Mohammed Mutumba and the late Mastula Ndwaddewazibwa in Mukono district.
He possesses a bachelor’s degree in law from Makerere University. He sat his A’level from Kawempe Muslim Secondary School and he topped his year.
A Muganda from the Kkobe (yam) clan, Mabirizi became famous when he dragged his own king, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, to court for what he described illegal collection of land fees known as Busulu.
He was also among the team which challenged the amendment of the presidential Age limit clauses (102b) in the Constitution which they lost.