Kampala City lawyer Male Mabirizi made his appearance at Buganda Road Court in Kampala on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, as he aimed to assume control of his case involving Uganda’s first son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who was facing charges related to alleged “disobedience and being a common nuisance.”
Mabirizi, in an attempt to strengthen the case, expanded the list of accused individuals on the charge sheet by seven, triggering an objection from the prosecution led by Joan Keko. This objection led to the case file being moved to the High Court for a criminal revision, overseen by the chief magistrate’s court at Buganda Road.
Justice Michael Elubu, presiding over the matter, addressed the question of whether the private prosecutor had the right to amend the charge sheet in a case already taken over by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The judge cited Article 120 of the constitution, which granted the DPP substantial control over all prosecutions except those within the court martial’s jurisdiction.
The court noted that Mabirizi had initiated the case on November 11, 2021, filing a formal complaint on oath and naming only Gen Muhoozi as the accused party. The legal process proceeded with Mabirizi’s involvement until November 14, 2022, when the DPP assumed control.
Justice Elubu emphasized that the DPP’s role was to act in the public’s interest and prevent abuse of the legal process. Consequently, the DPP’s reasons for taking over a case did not necessitate sharing with the parties involved.
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The court established that once the DPP took control, the private prosecutor’s status shifted, leaving the DPP as the primary party responsible for prosecution decisions. The private prosecutor’s role then became akin to that of a complainant.
Furthermore, the court ruled that the private prosecutor lacked the authority to amend the charge sheet due to a lack of legal standing. Therefore, any claim that the private prosecutor’s right to be heard was violated held no ground. The court struck down the amended charge sheet filed on July 13, 2023, asserting that the prosecution under the DPP should continue with the original case filed on November 11, 2022.
The court also maintained that the chief magistrate acted appropriately by recalling the case file, prompted by concerns over the legality of the trial proceedings at City Hall.
Mabirizi’s amended charge sheet had listed seven additional accused individuals, including Micheal Mawanda Maranga, journalist Andrew Mujuni Mwenda, events promoter Balam Barugahare Ateenyi, David Kabanda, Micheal Nuwagira Kaguta (alias Toyota), Lilian Aber, and Michael Katungi.
The charges against these individuals included allegations of “scandalous conduct and conspiracy to commit misdemeanors.” The amended private prosecution charge sheet accused Gen Muhoozi and the others of participating in actions that went against public order, expectations, and morality during a political gathering at Kololo Grounds in Kampala on October 10, 2022. Additionally, they were alleged to have conspired to commit misdemeanors as per specific sections of the UPDF Act, 2005, and the Penal Code Act, Cap. 120.
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