Human rights lawyer Gawaya Tegulle has petitioned the Constitutional court in Kampala seeking an order directing first son and commander of land forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba to desist from carrying on political activities while he is still a serving officer in the army.
In his petition, Gawaya also wants Muhoozi prosecuted for treason because of the pronouncements on his Twitter handle, which he says are political in nature and aimed at taking over power as successor to his father President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni using methods and means that are not consistent with the constitution.
The suit has come at the time when Muhoozi and his supporters have had several bashes in different parts of the country since last month celebrating his 48th birthday, events that have been characterized by many crowds and people wearing his t-shirts with inscriptions that he is their next president for Uganda.
Evidence before court shows that Muhoozi who has been sued in his individual capacity as the first respondent over his actions dubbed as “MK@48” including national and district birthday celebrations, as well as the political pronouncements in general and the manifest presidential campaigns in particular on his Twitter handle, are inconsistent and in contravention of Article 208(2) of the constitution.
The said article states that the Uganda People's Defense Forces shall be nonpartisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority as established under the constitution.
Gawaya has also sued the chief of defense forces (CDF) as the second respondent for failure to advise or warn Muhoozi about the legality and untenable nature of his actions, character and conduct saying that it can clearly be seen that they are in contravention of the constitution and the UPDF Act.
He is also suing the attorney general for alleged failure to provide good, fitting and proper legal advice and guidance to the UPDF in general and Kainerugaba in particular who is the current commander of the land forces.
"The first respondent/Muhoozi who also happens to be the son of the current President of Uganda General Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni is enjoying unlawful and unconstitutional preferential treatment from the UPDF and is not being duly reprimanded, supervised or otherwise called by the 2nd respondent simply because he is the son of the president which manifestly offends Article 21 that provides for equality before and under the law” reads Gawaya’s petition.
The evidence before the court further shows that previously, such acts with political overtones by serving officers like Gen David Tinyefuza now Sejusa and retired Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde have been met with "quick, malevolent crackdowns" by the UPDF which included suspensions and court proceedings in the name of sanction. This, Gawaya who is being represented by his lawyers of Nalukoola Advocates and Solicitors and Thomas and Michael Advocates argues, is clear manifestation of discriminatory approach in the application and enforcement of the law.
He adds that the army and other security operatives were deployed to provide security and keep law and order for Muhoozi to celebrate his birthday and the deployment expenditure was an expenditure obtained from the consolidated fund to benefit him yet the birthday celebrations were private and not a service of the government and therefore not authorized in law.
To prove his case, Gawaya has attached dozens of tweets posted by Kainerugaba which he believes are political in nature. Some tweets include one where Muhoozi is being quoted saying he will not stop until he is in control of power in this country, tweets praising the Chwezi dynasty, MK revolution and pictures of his supporters donned in his T-shirts with inscriptions that Muhoozi is our next president and those ones with his campaign pictures.
Lawyer Nalukoola Luyimbazi says his client wants court to order Muhoozi to stop participating in political activities and direct the attorney general and CDF to discharge their constitutional mandate without fear or favour.
The Constitutional court has given Kainerugaba, CDF and attorney general 10 days to file their response before the matter can be fixed for pretrial hearing and heard by a panel of five justices.