Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court has ordered the immediate arrest of controversial lawyer Male Mabirizi to serve 18 months in jail for contempt of court. Civil Division High Court, Judge Musa Ssekaana issued the orders after finding Mabirizi guilty of contempt of court for the second time.
The ruling stemmed from an application by State Attorney, Patricia Mutesi who argued that despite the high court orders issued on January 27th 2022 cautioning Mabirizi to desist from attacking judicial officers, he is adamant and continues making contemptuous posts on his social media platforms against the presiding judge (Ssekaana) and the Judiciary.
According to Mutesi, Mabirizi accused Ssekaana of being biased, incompetent and unable to head the smallest court of a family and one who doesn’t qualify for any award from Uganda Law Society and even for a Grade Two Magistrate. Court also heard that the rest of the posts were crafted in vulgarised language.
She also noted that Mabirizi described the fine of Shillings 300 million imposed on him by Justice Ssekaana last month for contempt of Court as null and void, saying this wasn’t only an attack on the court but the entire Judiciary. Mutesi asked the court to find Mabirizi guilty of contempt of court and commit him to civil prison.
However, Mabirizi’s lawyer Noel Nuwe asked the Court to give his client an opportunity to appear and explain if he made those posts in violation of the earlier court order. Nuwe argued that Mabirizi was not aware of the court ruling that barred him from attacking judicial officers and only came to know about it on Tuesday morning and needed more time to defend himself.
However, in his summarized ruling, Justice Ssekaana noted that Mabirizi never presented himself nor filed any affidavits denying the accusations even when he was summoned. He explained that given the circumstances, the court was left with no option but to order for his arrest on sight to serve 18 months in civil prison.
Justice Ssekaana noted that he was forced to make the brief ruling to avoid further attacks, adding that he will deliver a detailed ruling supporting his decision in due course. Ssekaana and Mabirizi’s woes started way back in 2019 during the hearing of an application challenging the decision by Justice Simon Byabakama to continue working as the Electoral Commission Chairperson without relinquishing his powers as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
In the proceedings, Ssekaana told Mabirizi to submit his rubbish when he accused him of bias. Mabirizi vowed never to appear before Justice Ssekaana voluntarily. In 2020, Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka earned himself three years in jail for contempt of court when he called Supreme Court Justices fools.