The Supreme Court has this morning dismissed an Application by city lawyer Male-Mabirizi challenging the collection of annual nominal ground rent (Busuulu) on Buganda Kingdom land managed by Buganda Land Board.
Mabirizi filed Civil Application number 28 of 2019 following the launch of a mass nominal ground rent collection by Buganda Land Board in October last year. In this application, heard by Justice Esther Kisakye, Mabirizi pleaded with court to halt Busuulu collection since it was a campaign with a two-month deadline. On top of this he also filed Civil Application 27 of 2019 in which he challenged the legality of BLB to collect nominal annual ground rent.
But court today dismissed both applications, starting with a ruling by Justice Kisaakye which noted that his matter had been overtaken by events.
On the second application, Kabaka’s lawyers led by Owek. Chris Bwanika objected noting that they had not been served.
Sensing danger, Mr Mabirizi tried to withdraw the application without costs but Kabaka’s lawyers objected and requested court to dismiss the application with costs.
The Supreme court justices Richard Buteera, Faith Mwondha, Opio Aweri, Lillian Tibatwemwa and Paul Mugamba immediately dismissed the application with costs in cause.
These applications arise out of a main appeal by Mabirizi to the Supreme court challenging the Court of Appeal ruling that overturned an order by High Court’s Justice Patricia Basaza to Kabaka to present all particulars in regards the kingdom’s accounts in the names of Buganda Land Board. In their ruling, the court of appeal had also offered costs to Kabaka.
In October 2018, High Court Justice Henry Peter Adonyo eventually dismissed the entire case noting that he had filed the case on behalf of the people of Buganda, although he had no evidence that any aggrieved Muganda had given him instructions to represent them.
“There being no legal basis upon which the stay of this proceeding can be based, it is the holding of this court that the application of stay of proceedings lacks merit and ought to fail accordingly as the main suit has already been declared a nullity by the court of appeal,”Adonyo ruled.
“This court is thus constrained to dismiss this allocation with costs to the correspondent. I do so order”
This ruling forced Mabirizi to the Supreme Court seeking reinstatement of the case.
But Kabaka’s lawyers led by Chris Bwanika, Buganda’s attorney general, argue that even at the Supreme Court, Mabirizi’s case is not in accordance with the law.
They note that Mabirizi’s case is unsustainable in law unless it’s his personal grievance and personal case, although he insists on pursuing a case for people who are not in court, not mentioned and have not authorized him to act for them.
Led by Justice Opio, the Supreme Court has promised to give its ruling on notice.