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Muhoozi sued over 48th birthday celebration activities

What you need to know:

  • Also jointly sued with Gen Muhoozi is the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), for being an overseer of the military, and the Attorney General, the chief government legal adviser.

Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has been sued for his recent 48th birthday celebration activities that many have since interpreted as the start of a succession process that will end up with him replacing his father, President Museveni.

The petitioner, lawyer Gawaya Tegulle, says it’s unconstitutional for Gen Muhoozi to start engaging in political activities since he is a serving officer of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF). Officers are expected to be non-partisan, Mr Tegulle adds.

The petition was filed before the Constitutional Court in Kampala on Thursday last week.

“The acts of the first respondent (Gen Muhoozi) dubbed MK@48 including national and district birthday celebrations as well as political pronouncements in general and the manifest presidential campaigns in particular, on the first respondent’s twitter handle, @MK, are inconsistent to article 208 (2) of the Constitution that provides UPDF shall be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to civilian authority…” the petition reads in part.

“As a serving officer of the UPDF, the first respondent (Gen Muhoozi), acted in an undisciplined manner, lacking good character when with impunity, breached the Code of Conduct for the defence forces,” it adds.

Also jointly sued with Gen Muhoozi is the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), for being an overseer of the military, and the Attorney General, the chief government legal adviser.

READ: Is former ‘LDU’ Muhoozi eyeing seat of Commander-in-Chief?

The CDF has been sued for his alleged failure to provide leadership or his omission to advise or warn Gen Muhoozi about the legality and untenable nature of his recent actions, character and conduct even when it’s clearly seen that the same is in contravention of the constitution.

Likewise, the Attorney General has been sued for his alleged failure to give proper legal advice and guidance to the UPDF—specifically Gen Muhoozi whose actions Mr Tegulle deems “manifestly unconstitutional.”

The petitioner also claims unconstitutional events happened to lavishly celebrate the birthday of Gen Muhoozi. “The first respondent (Gen Muhoozi), who happens to be the son of the current President, Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, is enjoying unlawful and unconstitutional preferential treatment from the UPDF, and is not being duly reprimanded, supervised or otherwise, called to order by second respondent (CDF) simply because he is the son of the President, which offends Article 21 that provides for equality before and under the law,” Mr Tegulle, a trained lawyer, avers.

Through his lawyers of Thomas & Michael Advocates and Nalukoola Advocates & Solicitors, the petitioner wants the court to declare the alleged political schemes by Gen Muhoozi unconstitutional.  Mr Tegulle also takes exception with Gen Muhoozi promoting the NRM party despite him being a serving army officer.  The petitioner further wants Gen Muhoozi activities under the MK@48 multipurpose vehicle to be declared political in nature with the end of replacing his father who has ruled Uganda since 1986.

Mr Tegulle also wants the court to condemn the “silence and inaction” he interprets as approval or sanctions by the UPDF. This, he says, is in stark contrast to how previous similar episodes involving serving UPDF officers like Gen David Sejusa and Maj Gen Henry Tumukunde were handled. Mr Tegulle, who refers to himself in the court documents as an ardent believer in the rule of law, further claims that the money that was used to finance the birthday activities of Gen Muhoozi was secured from the Consolidated Fund, which is unconstitutional.

“The UPDF and other security operatives were deployed to provide security and keep law and order for the first respondent to celebrate his birthday. The deployment was an expenditure charged on the consolidated fund to benefit the first respondent whose birthday celebrations were private and not a service of government,” Mr Tegulle contends.

He adds: “Additionally, the withdrawal of funds to pay to the security operatives deployed to provide security and guard services to the first respondent on his birthday were not authorised by law as an expenditure chargeable on the Consolidated Fund.”

He also wants the court to declare that the summation of the birthday activities of Gen Muhoozi “manifestly put [him] at a position superior to the Constitution, which offends article 2 which provides that the Constitution is supreme.”

Dubbed “the Muhoozi project”, last month the First Son held a series of activities to celebrate his 48th birthday. Some of the birthday bash activities included public rallies, a road run, party at Lugogo Oval in Kampala, and a who’s who dinner at State House in Entebbe that included Rwandan President, Paul Kagame. This was Mr Kagame’s first visit to Uganda in four years.

Last week, Gen Muhoozi tweeted cryptically about an interest in the top job in Uganda.

“I consider President Kaguta Museveni and President Paul Kagame the best strategists that ever lived. When Team MK wins power in this country, which we will, Our first act will be to increase the sports budget,” he wrote.

At his birthday bash in Lugogo, Gen Muhoozi also spoke tersely about using entertainment and sport to put the “energy” of the youth to great use.

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