Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | City Lawyer Male Mabirizi wants the court to quash the directives issued by President Museveni in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday President Museveni ordered for the closure of several institutions like churches, bars, factories, schools, banned musical concerts among others for 32 days. These are some of the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
In his Petition filed on Friday before the Civil Division of High Court, Mabirizi is challenging the directives. He argues that the directives are illegal, unreasonable and defeat common sense as they were issued in an improper procedure.
He explains that the President or Cabinet has no powers to regulate people in the prevention of a contentious and infectious disease through a mere resolution without being backed up by any statutory instrument or order.
Mabirizi states in his affidavit that he only knows that the lawful way the President can make the said directives is through a Statutory Instrument, putting into account public participation and involvement.
He adds that the orders do not pass the test of being acceptable and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and allowed under the laws.
“It is irrational to clamp the whole country yet there are no known corners where the virus can reach Uganda specifically International airports and border posts”, reads the affidavit in part.
Mabirizi further contends that the 32 days period is unreasonable since before that the virus may disappear and Ugandans are going to be incapacitated for an unreasonably long period adding that in the effect, Museveni made a decree of sorts yet Uganda is not governed by decrees.
Mabirizi further notes that it is fair and equitable and in the interest of protecting the rule of law that courts grant the orders sought in this application.
He wants the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining the Government and its agents from implementing the directives in question and also to be paid general damages and costs of the suit.
The Attorney General is yet to be summoned to file his defence in regards to this matter before it’s allocated to a Judge who will be fixing it for hearing.
This is not the first time Mabirizi is challenging President Museveni’s directives.
In 2019, he dragged the Attorney General to court over the directive in which Museveni ordered for the immediate release of suspects in custody for idle and disorderly charges. He also challenged the Presidential Appointments that saw several UPDF officers being recruited into Uganda Police Force ranks and file.
Although the latter was dismissed by Justice Musa Ssekaana, the former is yet to be heard.