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Why DPP likely to lose interest in Bobi Wine's controversial age case

By Farooq Kasule

Added 5th September 2020 01:59 PM

In Uganda, it is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has the constitutional mandate to prosecute criminal matters but an individual can also institute private prosecution under the Magistrates' Court Act.

Why DPP likely to lose interest in Bobi Wine's controversial age case

Bobi Wine insists that he was born on February 12, 1982 at Nkozi hospital but his father altered his birth date after skipping some classes to sit primary seven.

In Uganda, it is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has the constitutional mandate to prosecute criminal matters but an individual can also institute private prosecution under the Magistrates' Court Act.

COURT|DPP|CRIME

KAMPALA - On Wednesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) invoked the provisions of Article 120(3) of the Constitution and took over a case in which Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu a.k.a Bobi Wine is accused of giving false information about his age.

Maverick lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi opened the charges against him in a private capacity, which is provided for under section 42(3) (6) of the Magistrates Court Act.

While filing the case at Buganda Road Court, Mabirizi vowed to block Bobi Wine's presidential bid, arguing that he is a dishonesty man having purportedly lied about his age and hence not ‘fit' to run for presidency.

Mabirizi noted that the Constitution bars a person convicted of dishonesty from standing for presidency for seven years.

"What I need is to have Bobi Wine convicted of dishonesty about his age such that he becomes unfit to stand for presidency," Mabirizi argued.

Mabirizi alleges that on July, 11, 2017, at parliamentary building, Bobi Wine gave false information to Parliament that he was born on February 12, 1982 whereas not.

Mabirizi contends that Bobi Wine lied to Parliament and the passport office that he was born on February 12, 1982, which is contrary to his date of birth reflected on his academic transcripts.  

"In 1996, Kyagulanyi signed his age as 16 while filling Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) forms before sitting senior four and 18-years in 1998 while sitting senior six, which clearly shows that he was born in 1980 and not 1982 as he purports. This means that he intentionally lied to parliament and passport office which constitutes a criminal offence," Mabirizi contends.  

 Bobi Wine however insists that he was born on February 12, 1982 at Nkozi hospital but his father altered his birthdate after skipping some classes to sit primary seven.

In Uganda, it is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has the constitutional mandate to prosecute criminal matters but an individual can also institute private prosecution under the Magistrates' Court Act.

 The DPP however can take over prosecution of a privately prosecuted matter at any given stage of the case.

Why DPP likely to lose interest in the matter

Although Mabirizi's case against Bobi Wine would be of good interest for the public to follow up to its logical conclusion, many legal minds say it is politically bad.

Lawyer Denis Kawuma argues that the DPP ought to lose interest in the matter because many people believe it is being sponsored by incumbent President Yoweri Museveni to block the pop-star turned politician from contesting against him.

"This case is time bad despite the fact that I believe it would be of good interest to see where it ends. Although I believe President Museveni is not behind it, many people believe so and it is in the interest of President Museveni to have the matter dropped," Kawuma said.

 Kawuma noted that prosecuting presidential hopefuls like Dr Kizza Besigye ahead of elections have greatly affected President Museveni and he cannot allow the same to happen again.

"The Museveni I know doesn't fear competition and believes in a fair game though the issue of the final outcome of the game is a debate for another day," Kawuma noted.

Zake Lukonge argued that prosecuting politicians like Bobi Wine at this stage could earn them sympathy votes.

Mabirizi however insists that DPP should be able to proceed with the matter, lest he will not allow her to take over the matter.

Mabirizi wants the court to ignore the DPP's request saying she could lose interest in the matter in which he has heavily invested in.


 Mabirizi says the framers of the Constitution had reasons for private prosecution despite the giving the DPP original mandate in criminal matters.

 "This is an extra ordinary case where the alleged offences were committed in March 2000 and for the past 20-years, the state has been silent about the crimes which made me investigate the matter and it is perplexing how they now claim to be interested in my case," Mabirizi said.

 Mabirizi wants the court to ignore the DPP's request saying she could lose interest in the matter in which he has heavily invested in.

 Back ground

Mabirizi was prompted to investigate the academic credentials of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party leader after being suspicious about them.

His academic details available at the parliament website indicate that he was born in 1982 and sat A-level in 1998.

This according to Mabirizi meant that if he was born in 1982, he sat A-level at 16-years, O-level at 13-years and PLE at 9-years and started his educational journey at 2-years only, which the lawyer created doubt to him whether the pop-star-turned politician possess the minimum academic requisite for both MP and presidency.

Who is Mabirizi?      

Mabirizi was born in 1987 to Mohammed Mutumba and the late Mastula Ndwaddewazibwa in Mukono district.      

He possesses a bachelor's degree in law from Makerere University. He sat his A-level from Kawempe Muslim secondary school and his topped his year.      

A Muganda from the Kkobe (yam) clan, Mabirizi became famous when he dragged his own King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II to court for what he described as illegal collection of land fess known as Busulu.    

The matter is now pending decision at the Supreme Court, a highest court on the land.      

He was also among the team which challenged the amendment of the presidential Age limit clauses (102b) in the Constitution    

 Article 102 (b) of the constitution prevented anyone above 75 years from standing for president.      

The matter is pending judgment at the East African Court of Justice based in Arusha -Tanzania.  

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