Kampala, Uganda | URN | Human Rights Lawyer Gawaya Tegulle has petitioned the Constitutional Court in Kampala seeking an order directing Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba to desist from carrying on political activities while he is still a serving officer in the army.
In his petition, Tegulle also wants Lt Gen. Muhoozi prosecuted for treason because of the activities on his Twitter handle which he says are political in nature and aimed at taking over power as successor to his father President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni using methods and means that are not consistent with the constitution.
The suit has come at the time when Lt Gen Muhoozi and his supporters have had several bashes in different parts of the country since last month celebrating his 48th birthday, events that have been characterized by many crowds and people wearing his t-shirts with inscriptions that he is their next president for Uganda.
The evidence before Court shows that Lt Gen Muhoozi who has been sued in his individual capacity as the first respondent over his actions dubbed as “MK@48” including national and district birthday celebrations, as well as the political pronouncements in general and the manifest presidential campaigns in particular on his Twitter handle, are inconsistent with an in contravention of Article 208(2) of the Constitution.
The said article states that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) shall be nonpartisan, National in character, Patriotic, Professional, Disciplined, Productive and Subordinate to the civilian authority as established under the constitution.
Tegulle has also sued the Chief of Defense Forces as the second respondent for failure to advise or warn Lt Gen. Muhoozi about the legality and untenable nature of his actions, character and conduct saying that it can clearly be seen that they are in contravention of the constitution and the UPDF Act.
He is also suing the Attorney General for alleged failure to provide good, fitting and proper legal advice and guidance to the UPDF in general and Kainerugaba in particular who is the current Commander of the Land Forces.
“The first respondent/Muhoozi who also happens to be the son of the current President of Uganda General Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni is enjoying unlawful and unconstitutional preferential treatment from the UPDF and is not being duly reprimanded, supervised or otherwise called by the 2nd respondent simply because he is the son of the President which manifestly offends Article 21 that provides for equality before and under the law,” reads Tegulle’s petition.
The evidence before the Court further shows that previously, such acts with political overtones by serving officers like General David Tinyefuza now Sejusa and Retired Lt General Henry Tumukunde have been met with “quick, malevolent crackdowns” by the UPDF which included suspensions and court proceedings in the name of sanction.
This, Tegulle who is being represented by his lawyers of Nalukoola Advocates and Solicitors and Thomas and Michael Advocates argues, is clear manifestation of discriminatory approach in the application and enforcement of the law.
He adds that the UPDF and other security operatives were deployed to provide security and keep law and order for Lt Gen. Muhoozi to celebrate his birthday and the deployment expenditure was an expenditure obtained from the consolidated fund to benefit him yet the birthday celebrations were private and not a service of the government and therefore not authorized in law.
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To prove his case, Tegulle has attached dozens of tweets posted by Kainerugaba which he believes are political in nature. Some tweets include one where Lt Gen. Muhoozi is being quoted saying he will not stop until he is in control of power in this country, tweets praising the Chwezi dynasty, MK revolution and pictures of his supporters donned in his T-shirts with inscriptions that Lt Gen. Muhoozi is our next President and those ones with his campaign pictures.
Lawyer Nalukoola Luyimbazi says his client wants the court to order Lt Gen. Muhoozi to stop participating in political activities and direct the Attorney General and Chief of Defense Forces to discharge their constitutional mandate without fear or favor.
The Constitutional Court is yet to summon Kainerugaba, the Chief of Defence Forces and the Attorney General who are listed jointly as the respondents before the matter can be fixed for pretrial hearing and heard by a Panel of five Constitution Court Justices.