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Wednesday,September 23,2020 18:08 PM

BINAISA JOKING, LAWYERS ARGUE

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th July 2002 03:00 AM

SOME top lawyers have cast doubt on ex-president Godfrey Binaisa’s intended suit against government for “violently” removing him from office 22 years ago.

SOME top lawyers have cast doubt on ex-president Godfrey Binaisa’s intended suit against government for “violently” removing him from office 22 years ago.

By Okello Jabweli and felix osike SOME top lawyers have cast doubt on ex-president Godfrey Binaisa’s intended suit against government for “violently” removing him from office 22 years ago. Binaisa, 82, on Wednesday served the Attorney General with a notice of intention to sue for the “criminal act of violently removing” him from office, his detention without trial, destruction of his Mutundwe house and failure to pay all his entitlements as an ex-president. A cross-section of Kampala city lawyers yesterday scoffed at the move. Joseph Balikuddembe, the man who successfully argued Dr. Paul Ssemogerere’s referendum petition, said Binaisa’s overthrow as a ground for suing was a joke. “First of all, it is time barred. There is a time limit for instituting proceedings against the Government. Secondly, the man (Binaisa) was not elected by universal suffrage. The Attorney General could argue that he was just an appointee of the National Consultative Council and that he who appoints can terminate an appointment,” Balikuddembe said. He said the ex-president stands a good chance of winning the other grounds like the destruction of his house and non-payment of his rent. Uganda Law Society president Andrew Kasirye concurred, saying while there was no judicial precedent, Binaisa will have it rough making a case against his removal from power. He cited the 1967 case of Government of Uganda vs. Commissioner of Prisons Tokino Exparte Matovu. Kasirye said in that case, Binaisa, the then Attorney General, argued that if there is a successful revolution you cannot question the means. “On that principle, it will be very difficult for him to succeed on that ground,” he said. “However, his claims about his detention after the coup is actionable.” Kasirye added that even the detention ground could be time barred. He said under the Statute of Limitation and the Government Proceedings Act, civil cases may only be filed within a year from the time of commission. He said even the fact that Binaisa was in exile for 15 years may not work in his favour. “That (being in exile) could be termed as inability in law. However, it’s now more than a year since he came back,” Kasirye said. Binaisa was instrumental in the enactment of the two laws in the 1960s. “I have discussed this case with Binaisa. I used to work with him in 1986 but I think he won’t succeed on the first ground. On the other issues like destruction of his property, he certainly has a strong case,” Kasirye said. Meanwhile, information minister Basoga Nsadhu said yesterday government would make its response to Binaisa’s complaints on his welfare and property. Basoga, in a weekly press briefing at the ministry’s boardroom in Nakasero, said Binaisa’s documents for the intention to sue government “were received in the Ministry of Justice and government will study the documents and make an appropriate response.” Basoga said multipartyists were free to petition over the interpretation of the political party Act. Ends

BINAISA JOKING, LAWYERS ARGUE

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