City lawyer Male Mabirizi has petitioned the High Court in Kampala seeking to quash the directives issued by President Yoweri Museveni and Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo suspending several operations due to Covid-19.
On Sunday, President Museveni announced a 42-day closure of schools, to control COVID-19 infections in the face of a second wave of the pandemic. Museveni also banned inter-district travel, public gatherings and prayers.
A day after, Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo also suspended all court hearings including election petitions for 42 days to mitigate the effects of the new COVID-19 wave.
In his application before the Civil Division, Mabirizi contends that the President of Uganda has no powers to regulate people in the prevention of a contentious disease by mere oral statements/orders/or directives and decrees.]
According to Mabirizi, the said directives are unreasonable, irrational and defeat common sense.
On the Chief Justice directives, Mabirizi argues that he lacks the powers to order for closure of courts acting on a president’s speech since such is reportedly outside his administrative functions. Mabirizi now wants the court to quash Museveni and Owiny-Dollo’s directives on the ground of being illegal as well as issue a permanent order restraining the government and her agents from implementing them.
He equally needs damages and costs of the application as a result of the contentious directives.
CUE. MABIRIZI LUG//ENG.
In 2020, when Museveni had instituted the first lockdown, Mabirizi filed a relatively similar case challenging the President’s directives.
However, the then head of High Court Civil Division Justice Andrew Bashaija de-registered Mabirizi’s case from the court records before it could even be heard.