Makerere University School of Law don, Prof Joe Oloka-Onyango has described Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s actions to organize birthday parties and political utterances as an attempt to overthrow Uganda’s Constitution.
First son, Muhoozi the current commander of the Land Forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has been organizing different birthday celebrations across major towns of Uganda on top of posting controversial tweets expressing interest to ascend to power after his father President Yoweri Museveni.
Prof Oloka has weighed in arguing that Muhoozi is still a serving officer of the UPDF, thus his political statements are pre-emptive political utterances that abrogate provisions of the 1995 Constitution.
With specific reference to Article 208 (2) of the Constitution, Oloka emphasized that the UPDF shall be nonpartisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, and disciplined among others which Muhoozi has already defied.
"Article 208(2) of the Constitution explicitly states that the UPDF shall be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority. Now, of course, this matter is subjudice, I won't say much more but I believe somebody is attempting to amend the Constitution not only via the birthday parties but the tweets and all that," said Oloka.
Oloka further suggested that the act of organizing such birthday bashes is politically motivated, and therefore tantamount to an attempt to suspend directly or indirectly, amend, and or overthrow the Constitution that parliament must prevail over.
"Article 3 is important because it proclaims that any person who undertakes to overthrow the Constitution is guilty of the offence of treason and indeed what it says is any person who suspends, overthrows, abrogates or amends this Constitution or any part of it attempts to do so attempts the offence of treason. Just an example, the birthday parties we have been seeing recently, I would suggest that the person hosting those birthday parties is attempting to amend the Constitution," he added.
Last week, MPs Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the MPs for Kalungu County West and Kira Municipality respectively raised the matter of Muhoozi’s birthday parties on the floor of parliament demanding he be arrested for treason.
However, the presiding speaker Anita Among Annet ruled them out saying there was nothing wrong with celebrating a birthday. She teased Ssemujju that he too could also organize a birthday bash and fellow MPs would attend.
Muhoozi’s presidential ambitions ignited debate when he turned his 48th birthday celebrations on April 24 into a national event characterized by parties with the main one hosted by his father at State House Entebbe and attended by Rwanda President Paul Kagame, a move seen as intended to popularize his bid for the top job.
Since then, human rights lawyer Gawaya Tegulle has petitioned the Constitutional court in Kampala seeking an order directing Gen Muhoozi to desist from carrying on political activities while he is still a serving officer in the army.
The first son is jointly sued with the Chief of Defense Forces as the second respondent for failure to advise or warn Muhoozi about the legality and untenable nature of his actions, character and conduct that contravenes the Constitution and the UPDF Act, 2005.
The Attorney General was sued as a third respondent for alleged failure to provide good, fitting and proper legal advice and guidance to the UPDF in general and Muhoozi in particular.