The High Court in Mbale has dismissed an application in which Jude Mike Mudoma wanted the government to gazet him as the duly elected Bugisu cultural leader.
Mudoma’s application, which was filed against the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development and the Attorney General, was dismissed. Justice Apiny said that the election of Mudoma was tainted with irregularities since he was elected by factions not recognised by the government. She also said that he filed the case outside the stipulated time.
Mudoma, through his lawyer Brian Othieno, petitioned the High Court, claiming that on October 6, 2020, he was duly elected as Bamasaaba’s cultural leader, the Umukuuka.
Mudoma noted that on October 13, 2020, he was sworn in and installed as Umukuuka of Bamasaaba of Bugisu. According to evidence submitted to court, the Ministry of Gender and the Attorney General were informed about the installation and were asked to gazette Mudoma as required by law, but in vain.
Mudoma said that on December 23rd, 2021, the applicant did receive a letter written by the respondents based on the advice of the Solicitor General and Attorney General of Uganda in letters that were attached for reference, alleging that the applicant was not lawfully elected and or installed as the Umukuuka/Omuguuga of Bamasaaba of Bugisu without taking into consideration all the explanations provided.
Mudoma asked the court to issue an order compelling the government to gazette him immediately and pay him the costs of the case.
However, the government argued that Mudoma’s election was tainted because he was elected by a faction when there was a prevailing injunction on elections issued on August 24, 2020.
Evidence before the court shows that the Solicitor General on June 7, 2021, advised that Mudoma was elected by the other faction of Inzu Yamasaaba using separate organs of the kingdom and the Judge who issued an injunction did not recognise the faction.
The government side argued that the application was incompetent and misconceived and should be struck out on grounds of being time-barred since it was filed out of time.
Mudoma was challenging the decision not to gazette him dated June 7, 2021, which he ought to have done after three months, but he went to court in March 2022, which was contrary to Judicial Review Rules of 2009.
The government asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the advice of the Solicitor General still stands and that the process of dispute resolution that was started by the Ministry of Gender has to be concluded and they need to get a mediation report and its resolutions.
The court heard that the application was premature and brought in bad faith amidst the process of mediation and that it ought to be dismissed with costs.
Justice Apiny agreed with the Attorney General and dismissed the case, saying it was indeed filed late, outside the three-month stipulated time within which to file judicial review matters.
She added that the Court cannot consider stale claims by people who have slept on their rights because Mudoma was already aware of the May 2021 decision and did not go to gazeate him.
“Having established that the first respondent (Ministry of Gender) had already taken a decision not to gazette the applicant as at May 8, 2021 as indicated… it is, therefore, my finding that this application, having been filed on March 17, 2022, was filed out of time without the leave of court. Consequently, the preliminary point is sustained in that regard, “added Apiny.
According to the Judge, given the Solicitor General’s advice, the parties had to exploit provisions of the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act of 2011 and come to a harmonised position and present it to the Ministry of Gender. She says the failure of which the parties had the liberty to move to court on their respective individual rights as to who is supposed to be the Umukuuka of Baasaaba.
She dismissed the case with an order that each party bear its own costs.