Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Hassan Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka was largely unknown until Aug.29, 2016 when he sued Buganda’s King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II over the land registration rationale in Buganda.
Being a Muganda and as such the King’s subject, to many, Mabirizi did the unthinkable when he accused the former of illegally collecting land fees through the Buganda Land Board (BLB).
Mabirizi says he had to follow his conscience even though the move appeared too contentious. Perhaps, it is the very reason he could hardly find any lawyers to represent him in court. Luckily, Mabirizi was a lawyer and decided to represent himself.
“The Kabaka has so many subjects and supporters some of whom believe that suing him is demeaning,” said Mabirizi, “Many fear to be associated with such a case”.
Born in 1987 to Mohammed Mutumba and the late Ndwaddewazibwa Mastula, Mabirizi has never been the kind to back down. Apart from the that case, in December last year, Mabirizi petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the process through which Parliament passed the controversial Bill on the amendment the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit.
Mabirizi filed the suit against the Attorney General in his own capacity as a concerned citizen, contending that the actions of Parliament to consider and grant leave to Mr Raphael Magyezi [Igara West MP] to table a Private Member’s Bill when the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Opposition Chief Whip and other opposition MPs were not in the House, was in contravention of the Constitution.
While Mabirizi has just caught the attention of many people for this fearlessness, he says he has always been like this.
In his early days in secondary school, he refused to apologize to his step mother on the orders of his father and other relatives. The stepmother accused him of disrespecting her and when he refused to apologise, the relationship between them got worse.
As a result, Mabirizi was chased away from home and his father also refused to continue paying his school fees.
In an effort to stand up for his rights, the 16 year old decided to sue his father for negligence and neglect of his fatherly duties. But being a minor, Mabirizi was advised by the family division court to forward his complaints through an adult.
“My father was summoned after which he agreed to pay the fees but still banned me from returning to his home,” Mabirizi said.
Despite being banned from home, Mabirizi continued with school when the then head teacher at Crane High School in Kampala offered him a vacancy in the boarding section.
This meant hard work and perseverance for the half orphan whose mother had passed on while he was still in Primary Two. At the end of the four years, Mabirizi was the best candidate at the centre with eight aggregates in the best six subjects. This performance earned him a place at Kawempe Muslim Secondary School and also made his father offer him financial and other logistical support.
While here, Mabirizi worked even harder in order to qualify for government sponsorship and pursue his dream course of Bachelors of Laws at Makerere University. Indeed, Mabirizi was among the excellent performers with 25 points, which earned him a place at Makerere University. During his second year at the university, Mabirizi started a money lending business from his savings as a taxi conductor during the long senior six holidays. He still earns from that money lending business on top of his legal profession.