Kampala lawyer, Male Mabirizi has dragged Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko, the East African Community’s Secretary General to court over his recent statements in the media.
Mfumukeko recently released a press statement in which he expressed dismay over the use of the East African Community emblem by Mabirizi to raise funds for his age limit case before the East African Court of Justice.
“No person shall without the permission of the Council of Ministers use or display the emblem of the Community. While the Community set up the EACJ as a neutral arbiter, for disputes between parties, it condemns the misuse of its emblem and photographs of the judges,”Mfumukeko said in the press statement last week.
However, Mabirizi has run to the East African Court of Justice to challenge Mfumukeko’s actions of issuing and signing the statement which he says were done out of malice and resulted into a breach of the principles and fair hearing.
He says he ought to have been consulted to determine whether he was the originator of the said advert soliciting for funds and whether he was doing it for his personal gains.
“The statement willfully or recklessly exposed the applicant(Mabirizi) to the risk of arrest, detention, restriction to his liberty, forced disappearance, judicial harassment, mob justice, citizen arrest, violence and other adverse actions of the partner state of Uganda and by non-state actors including vigilantes,” Mabirizi says in petition to the regional court.
“The statement has the effect of prejudicing, pre-empting, pre-determining and pre-judging any investigations, enquiries, prosecutions, trials and like proceedings by the relevant community organs or the concerned authorities in any partner state in respect of the allegations mentioned therein.”
He argues that the press statement by the East African Community Secretary General seems to have been made to pre-empty his age limit case in the East African Court of Justice.
“The statement undermines the applicant’s right to a dignified existence in the community, freedom of expression and association with others. It also prejudices the outcome of his pending judgment in East African Court of Justice reference no.6 of 2019,” Mabirizi says.
Mabirizi says since the press statement by the East African Community Secretary General was done with malice and in bad faith that it indeed defamed him, the East African Court of Justice should issue an order to Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko to apologise to him and retract the statement.
“Court should issue a permanent injunction to the respondent to desist from any further issuing of statement similar to the impugned one against the applicant. Court should award general, enhanced, exemplary and aggravated damages to the applicant due to the disturbance and anguish caused by the statement,” Mabirizi asked the regional court.