Drama broke out in the Constitutional Court, sitting in Mbale on Monday when Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo questioned why one of the petitioners Male Kiwanuka Mabirizi was seated on the bar yet he is not a practising advocate.
Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana, as head of the Bar introduced the lawyers representing both sides. When Mr Male Mabirizi was introduced as a petitioner representing himself, Justice Owiny-Dollo asked why he was sitting at the Bar and not at the back like the other petitioners. This prompted Mr Mabirizi to rise and remind court that unlike other petitioners who were represented by advocates, he represented himself and thus had to sit at the Bar.
“My Lord there is no law that prohibits anyperson from using any court facilities,” Mr Mabirizi said.
To this Justice Kenneth Kakuru told Mr Mabirizi that he is not the first to represent himself but that does not mean he breaks court rules.
Upon insistence and in disregard of fellow petitioner Ladislaus Rwakafuzi who had asked that Mr Mabirizi be allowed to sit where he will catch the judges’ attention, court had Mr Mabirizi move to the back.
Mr Mabirizi was later allowed to occupy the witness’ stand.
Notable among the petitioners were Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kizza, MPs Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kiira), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye East), FDC’s Salaam Musumba among others.