The Constitutional Court has summoned the Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to respond to a petition in which he is accused of expressing his presidential ambitions yet he is still a serving army officer.
Last Thursday, lawyer Gawaya Tegulle petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging what he called unconstitutional acts by Gen Muhoozi of engaging in political activities and pronouncements as he celebrated his 48th birthday last month despite being a serving army officer.
Speaking to Daily Monitor, Mr Luyimbazi Nalukoola, the lawyer representing the petitioner, said they had secured the court summons.
“We shall serve them [Gen Muhoozi and group] any day this week since we have extracted the summons from court,” Mr Luyimbazi said.
In his petition, Mr Tegulle claimed the acts of Gen Muhoozi, dubbed MK@48, that, among others, included; national and district birthday celebrations as well as political pronouncements in general and the manifest presidential campaigns in particular on his Twitter handle,@MK [@mkainerugaba], are inconsistent with Article 208 (2) of the Constitution that provides that UPDF shall be non-partisan, and national in character.
“As a serving officer of the UPDF, the 1st respondent (Gen Muhoozi) acted in an indiscipline manner, lacking good character when with impunity, breached the Code of Conduct for the defence forces,” the petitioner says.
According to the May 6 court documents, the First Son has been given 10 days to file his defence upon receipt of the summons.
Also summoned is the Chief of Defence Forces Wilson Mbadi (CDF) and Attorney General Kiwanuka Kiryowa, who are the co-defendants.
“Should you fail to file an answer on or before the date above mentioned, the petitioner may proceed with the petition which may be determined in your absence,” reads in part the court summons signed off by the registrar.
The CDF has been sued for his alleged failure to provide advice or warn Gen Muhoozi about the legality and untenable nature of his actions, character and conduct even when it is clear 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.
“The 1st 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 2nd 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 avers.
Through his lawyers of Thomas & Michael Advocates and Nalukoola Advocates & Solicitors, the petitioner says court should declare these acts unconstitutional.
Mr Tegulle also wants court to condemn the silence and inaction, which he interprets as approval by the UPDF.
Some of the birthday bash activities included public rallies, a road run flagged off at Kololo Independence Grounds, a party at Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala, and a dinner at State House in Entebbe that was graced by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who had not been in the country for close to four years.
There was also a football match involving UPDF officers and MPs, and distribution of T-shirts inscribed with words like “Vote President Muhoozi Kainerugaba”.