Lawyer Mabirizi, Justice Ssekaana Row Deepens
A Clash between Controversial Lawyer Male Mabirizi and High Court of Uganda Judge Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana has escalated.
What started as a mere apprehension of Judicial bias in an ordinary High Court Case has now evolved into serious allegations of misconduct, incompetence and Judicial Fraud.
In a 24th February letter seen by The Legal Reports, Mr Male Mabirizi has written to the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) seeking initiation of proceedings to remove Justice Ssekaana from Office as a High Court Judge.
Mr Mabirizi appeared before the learned Judge as a self represented litigant in a matter he sought the removal of Justice Simon Byabakama and Sam Rwakoojo from Office as Chairman of the Electoral Commission and Secretary to the Commission respectively.
He, jointly with others, including Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago requested that Justice Ssekaana recuses self from the Case on ground of bias allegedly arising from the Judge’s work as an external Lawyer of the Electoral Commission (one of the defendant parties).
Their request was however dismissed and the Judge continued to hear the Case.
A stern Justice Musa Ssekana reminded Mr Mabirizi and group that litigants in Uganda have no right to choose a Judge of their choice to determine their cases.
He accused the Applicants especially the Politicians of attention seeking ahead of the 2021 General Election.
In the letter, Mabirizi claims the Judge dismissed his case unfairly.
” Although the Parties had agreed and argued before him 3 issues, he, in the ruling without giving the Parties chance to address the Court dismissed the Case on ground that he saw the Application which was not [for] Judicial Review to be filed out of 90 days [ 3 months] ” Mr Mabirizi writes.
Although during the hearing of the Case Justice Musa Ssekana admitted his work for the Electoral Commission, he denied any influences or biases saying the work is a past issue.
But Mabirizi alleges in his letter to the JSC that the learned Judge actively runs his private law firm.
” The same Judge has remained practicing Law in his Law firm of Ssekaana Associated Advocates where he frequents its Office” Mr Mabirizi says.
There was a bitter and dramatic verbal exchange between Mabirizi and Justice Ssekaana as the High Court determined Mabirizi’s case.
Mabirizi alleges that the learned Judge said he [Mabirizi] was submitting ” rubbish” before him and that he [Justice Ssekaana] could get him jailed.
Removing a Judge from Office
A Judge will only be removed from Office, under the Constitution, for inability to perform the functions of his or her office as a result of infirmity of mind or body, incompetence or misconduct.
This is done by the President after the tribunal set up to investigate the Judge in question recommends that the Judge is removed.
Mr Male Mabirizi shot to fame two years ago when he sued the Kabaka(Buganda King) something that shocked many observers especially royalists.
With Media attention and hype from his admirers, Mr Mabirizi who is not qualified to practice Law for lack of license would thereafter litigate other highly politically charged cases such as the ” Age Limit” case in which he sought the nullification of a Constitutional Amendment that paves way for President Museveni’s stay in power.
However, some Lawyers find his style of litigation wanting in both substance and form( procedure).