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Lawyer Mabirizi Sues Kabaka Again Over Busuulu

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | Lawyer Male Mabirizi has filed a petition with the Constitutional Court, seeking a temporary injunction to halt the activities involving Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom, and his agents. These activities pertain to mass settlers’ registration and the collection of ground rent, known as Busuulu Collections.

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

This encompasses 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, as well as government agencies, including ministries, police, courts, UPDF, KCCA, and local governments, from supporting Kabaka in carrying out these activities.

Mabirizi’s argument is based on his assertion that Kabaka is merely a trustee of the official mailo land, and all charges related to it are unlawful. Notably, Mabirizi filed a petition in 2022 challenging Kabaka’s actions in presenting himself as the registered owner of official mailo land and the government’s endorsement of such claims. Despite the pending petition, he alleges that the respondents have continued their activities and have announced a mass settlers’ registration and ground rent collection beginning the following month. Mabirizi contends that if the court does not grant his application, there is an imminent risk that the respondents will proceed with these actions, potentially causing irreparable harm.

This is not the first time Mabirizi has sought to halt ground rent collections. In 2020, Supreme Court Judge Dr. Esther Kisakye rejected his request to stop these collections, and in 2017, a High Court decision by Patricia Basaza ordering Kabaka to provide specific information was overturned by the Court of Appeal panels of justices led by Justice Egonda Ntende. Mabirizi has now initiated a similar case in the Constitutional Court, which is awaiting a decision.

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