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Court asked to declare office of the EC Chairperson vacant

Mr Male Mabirizi in the High Court registry filing his three applications. (PHOTO/Rachel Agaba)

KAMPALA – A city lawyer, Mr Hassan Male Mabirizi has petitioned the High court seeking orders directing Justice Simon Byabakama to vacate the office of Chairman in the Electoral Commission.

Mr Byabakama had assumed the office without first resigning his duties as Justice in the court of Appeal.

In a petition filed by Mr Mabirizi on Monday, August 12, he contends that it is unlawful and illegal for justice Byabakama to continue holding two government offices at the same time.

According to Mabirizi, the judiciary’s website indicates that Justice Byabakama is on a special assignment while carrying out EC duties he executes documents and duties as “Justice Byabakama.”

Mabirizi says that this compromises the independence of the judiciary in deciding over Electoral petitions since its one of their own who heads the institution which would have sanctioned the illegality being challenged.

Mabirizi further says by the Judiciary still maintaining Justice Byabakama on its official website as a justice of the court of Appeal, it means he never accepted appointment as Electoral commission chairman in the meaning of Article 60 of the constitution that requires him to first resign the first government job.

Mr Byabakama is due to organise his first general election in 2021.

Mr Mabirizi who has filed three applications is also seeking the cancelation of appointments of four army officers into top police administrative positions.

Mr Mabirizi in his application says it was wrong for the president to incorporate UPDF soldiers into the police since the two institutions have different roles; with the UPDF charged with the duty of protecting the country against foreign aggression while the police’s duty is to maintain law and order.

He now wants the four posts currently occupied by the four army officers in police declared vacant and qualified police personnel be appointed to fill them.

Mr Mabirizi contends that maintaining Military training to LDUs is illegal since they are neither incorporated into the UPDF, Police Force nor prison’s service.

He states that the President, UPDF or cabinet have no powers to raise an armed force that is not provided for under the law and therefore seeks for their disbandment.

In another application,Mr Mabirizi wants the May 31, 2019 legal Notice No.7 of 2019 that was published in the Uganda Gazette by Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe where he made the constitution recusal of judicial officers disbanded.

He says that, “this practice directions abolishes the time immemorial recusal procedure which had all the safe guards of fair hearing, protecting the integrity of a judicial officer as well as giving confidence to parties without any reasonable scientific and research based grounds,” reads in part the court documents.

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