Mabirizi Goes to Court Over Bobi Wine’s Trial

Kampala — Lawyer Male Mabirizi has petitioned the Constitutional Court to order for the immediate release of Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine and others who were charged in the army court and detained in military prison.

In his petition, Mr Mabirizi contends that Section 119 (1) (g) of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Act 2005 that subjects civilians to martial law on mere basis of possessing firearms, which are a monopoly of the army, contravenes the Constitution.

“The actions of UPDF to charge Hon Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine before the General Court Martial sitting at Gulu UPDF 4th Division headquarters as a person subject to military law with an offence under Section 119 (1) (h) of the UPDF Act, are inconsistent with Articles 8A, 20 (1), 20 (2), 21 (1), 22 (1), 28 (1), 44 (c), 126 (1), 128 (1), 128 (2), 129 & 210 of the Constitution,” Mr Mabirizi states.

The constitutional petition comes barely a week after MP Kyagulanyi was charged before military court in Gulu with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunitions.

The arrest

MP Kyagulanyi was violently arrested from Pacific Hotel in Arua Town on August 13. He had been in Arua with several other Opposition MPs to canvass support for the eventual winner of Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election on August 15.

The police allege that they found him with an Sub-Machine Gun and ammunitions, which are ordinarily a monopoly of the defence forces.

His arrest was on the chaotic final campaigns for Arua Municipality by-elections.

Other MPs who were picked with Mr Kyagulanyi are; Arua Municipality MP-elect Kassiano Wadri, Paul Mwiru (Jinja East), Gerald Karuhanga (ntungamo Municipality) and former Makindye East MP Mike Mabikke. They were charged with treason in a civil court in Gulu and remanded to Gulu Prison until August 30 for mention of their case.

MP Kyagulanyi is currently remanded at Makindye military barracks after being airlifted from Gulu on August 16. He is expected back in the army court on Thursday.

Further in his petition, Mabirizi blames Parliament for enacting laws that subject civilians to the jurisdiction of the military court.

“In contravention of Article 120 of the constitution, Parliament enacted Sections 119 (1) (g), 119 (1) (h), 161 (1) (a), (b) & c, and 161 (4) of the UPDF Act 2005 making non-members of the UPDF to be subject to the disciplinary and criminal code of members of UPDF, which is unconstitutional,” his petition states in part.

Mr Mabirizi also argues that civilians who compete for political space with the commander in chief of the UPDF, in the current formation, are at risk of being framed with charges making them subjected to military law and tribunals which are neither impartial nor independent but with powers to sentence such politicians to death or life imprisonment.

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Source: The Monitor

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