The East African Community (EAC) has condemned Ugandan Lawyer Male Mabirizi for using its emblem to solicit funds to facilitate the case he filed against President Museveni at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).
“The East African Community has learnt with dismay the misuse of its emblem by a one Mr Male Mabirizi, a litigant in a manner before the East African Court of Justice. Mr Male Mabirizi is illegally using the community emblem and photographs of judges of EACJ to among others, raise funds for personal purposes,” said EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko in a statement.
In 2017, the Parliament of Uganda under strong resistance from members of the opposition lifted the presidential age limit cap from 75 years which made incumbent President Museveni eligible to run for presidency in 2021.
Some opposition Members of Parliament and Male Mabirizi filed a case in the Constitutional Court challenging this decision and later took it to the Supreme Court where they also lost.
From here, Mabirizi decided to take the matter to the East African Court of Justice.
To meet the costs of this litigation, Mabirizi launched a fundraiser calling on members of the public to contribute to his expenses, which he said totalled 394 million Uganda shillings.
In the campaign however, he used a banner that had both the EAC emblem and photographs of judges of the EACJ.
EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko in a statement said that sections 7 and 8 of the Community Emblems Act prohibits the unauthorized use of community emblem.
Mfumukeko condemned Mabirizi’s act of using community emblem against a sitting Head of State and demanded an apology.
“While the Community set up EACJ as a neutral arbiter for disputes between parties, it condemns the abuse of its emblem, misuse of photographs of the judges and the derogatory language that Mr Male Mabirizi has used against a sitting Head of State. The Community further demands that Mr Male Mabirizi writes an apology to the Community and withdraws the said advert immediately,” Mfumukeko ordered.
However, Mabirizi has hit back at the EAC saying that the Community sets up a Court as a judicial body making it independent from the Secretariat.
“I do everything in strict compliance with the Treaty and I will continue mobilizing Ugandans to contribute funds to liberate their country from none rule of law chains. The funds are willingly contributed to the Ugandans’ well known common public good and not personal as you claim,” he said.