Mabirizi sues Kabaka again over Busuulu

Lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi (in set) and the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Mwenda Mutebi II (Photo/Courtesy)

Kampala, (UG): City Lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has petitioned the Constitutional Court, seeking a temporary injunction to stop the Kabaka of Buganda, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, and his agents from conducting activities among others which include; mass settlers’ registration and the collection of ground rent (Busuulu Collections).

In his application, Mabirizi lists the Attorney General of Uganda as one of the respondents. He argues that these activities are scheduled to commence on October 1st, 2023, targeting settlers on official mailo land registered in their names.

Mabirizi’s requests to the court include preventing Kabaka and his agencies, such as Buganda Land Board and Enkuluze (Royal Treasury), from conducting activities that portray them as registered owners of the official mailo land.

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This includes imposing registration fees, making threats against individuals living on Mailo land, and collecting a 10 percent charge of the sale value of land or Kibanja on the official Mailo land.

He also seeks to halt the collection of money from non-lease Buganda people in the area and government agencies, including ministries, police, courts, UPDF, KCCA, and local governments from supporting Kabaka in carrying out these activities.

Mabirizi’s argument is rooted in his contention that Kabaka is merely a trustee of the official Mailo land, and all charges related to it are illegal.

Notably, Mabirizi filed a petition in 2022 challenging Kabaka’s actions of presenting himself as the registered owner of official Mailo land and the government’s support for such claims.

Despite the pending petition, he claims that the respondents have continued with their activities and have announced a mass settler’s registration and ground rent collection starting the following month.

Mabirizi argues that if the court does not grant his application, there is an imminent danger that the respondents will proceed with these exercises, potentially causing irreparable harm to him.

This is not the first time Mabirizi has attempted to halt ground rent collections.

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In 2020, Supreme Court Judge Dr Esther Kisakye declined his application to stop these collections, and in 2017, a High Court decision by Patricia Basaza ordering the Kabaka to provide certain information was overturned by the Court of Appeal panels of justices led by Justice Egonda Ntende.

Mabirizi has now filed a similar case in the Constitutional Court, which is pending a determination.

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