By Douglas Mubiru
City lawyer Male Mabirizi is reportedly on the run after the High Court in Kampala sentenced him to a one-and-a-half-year jail term over contempt of court.
The sentence comes days after Mabirizi skipped court and hired lawyer Noel Nuwe of Ojok and Company Advocates to represent him in the case in which the Attorney General wanted him committed to prison over contempt of court.
Mabirizi has been representing himself in all cases, but he had instructed Nuwe to represent him to avoid being arrested in the courtroom on orders of the presiding judge, Musa Ssekaana.
Ssekaana and Mabirizi have been at loggerheads since 2009 during the hearing of the case in which Mabirizi contested Justice Simon Byabakama’s appointment as the Electoral Commission boss without relinquishing his job at the Court of Appeal.
Last week, Ssekaana summoned Mabirizi to appear in court to show cause why he should not be committed to civil prison over contempt of court.
Mabirizi, however, sent his lawyer Nuwe to represent him.
During the short-lived proceedings, the judge ordered Nuwe to return to court on Tuesday with clear instruction from Mabirizi.
Asked why he chose to hire a lawyer, Mabirizi said: “This is the option I have chosen, and it is legal.”
Mabirizi, however, faulted the judge, saying he entered the judgment against him erroneously without ascertaining whether the said Facebook account belongs to him. He said he has since appealed against the decision.
Genesis of the case
Mabirizi is accused of violating a court order issued by Ssekaana in which he was ordered to pay over sh300m for ridiculing High Court judge Philip Odoki.
Odoki handled the case in which Mabirizi sued telecom giant MTN-Uganda, but Mabirizi was dissatisfied with his decision and purportedly turned against the judge via his social media platform, an act Mabirizi denies to date.
Who is Mabirizi
Mabirizi was born in 1987 to Mohammed Mutumba and the late Mastula Ndwaddewazibwa in Mukono district.
He possesses a bachelor’s degree in law from Makerere University. He sat his A-level from Kawempe Muslim secondary school, and he topped his year.
A Muganda from the Kkobe (yam) clan, Mabirizi became famous when he dragged his own King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II to court for what he described as an illegal collection of land fees known as Busulu.
He was also among the team which challenged the amendment of the presidential age limit clauses (102b) in the Constitution which they lost.