UGANDA’S JUDICIARY IN SHAKE UP, CHIEF JUSTICE AND PRINCIPAL JUDGE LEAVING, WHO WILL REPLACE THEM.
The third arm of government in Uganda is going through a transition that will shake it because the most two important offices are falling vacant.
At least four senior judges of the High Court, including the Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine, its administrative head, are set to retire this year. The First office to fall vacant will be that of Principle Judge on 25th/12/2019 while for Chief Justice on 20th /06/2020.
In the same vein, five other judicial officers from the lower Bench are also set to retire. This means that the staffing gap that will be left by the retiring judicial officers will be huge.
Unless the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a government body that is mandated to recruit and discipline errant judicial officers, recruits suitable successors in time, more pressure will be piled on the already understaffed Judiciary.
But the new JSC leadership led by Justice Benjamin Kabiito, has done well by recruiting suitable candidates in time to fill up any vacant positions in the Judiciary. An example of such timely action was when they in record time recruited the current deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, to replace then retiring DCJ Steven Kavuma.
Nine Judges have been shortlisted as candidates for position of Principal Judge, they are Justice Gidudu Lawrence,
Justice Murangira Joseph, Justice Bashaija Andrew, Justice Adonyo-Atim Henry Peter, Justice Henreitta Wolayo, Justice Henry Kawesa Isabirye, Justice Margaret Mutonyi, Justice Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa and Justice Zeija Flavian.
President Yoweri Museveni appointed 12 Judges to the High Court and 3 to Court of Appeal recently which will help to fill the gap.
They are Justices Monica Mugenyi Kalyegira, Muzamiru
Kibeedi Mutangula and Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja
are the three appellate court appointees.
The dozen High Court judge choices are: Vincent Mugabo Emmy, Immaculate Busingye, Jane Okuo, Isaac Muwata, Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema, Isah Serunkuma, Jeanne Rwakakooko, Susand Abinyo, Esta Nambayo, Victoria Katamba Nakintu Nkwanga, Boniface Wamala and Philip Odoki.
Justice Yorokamu Bamwine, the out going Principle Judge is one of the very few career judicial officers in Uganda who has seen it all, having started out as a grade one magistrate in 1983 before rising through the ranks to become principal judge in 2010.
Over the 36 years, he has presided over more than a thousand cases, and as he clears his desk to prepare for retirement later this year
It was in 2009 that Justice Bamwine got earmarked to become the principal judge, the third-most powerful position in the judiciary’s power structure after the chief justice and deputy chief justice. He leaves on 25th/12/2019 Christmas Day, he will be clocking 65 years.
Therefore, we urge the Kabiito JSC-led Commission to also swiftly carry out its constitutional mandate and recruit the suitable candidates to fill the soon-to-be existing judicial positions, especially that of the Principal Judge. The Principal Judge is the third most important officer in the Judiciary hierarchy after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has less than a year to retire from the helm of the Judiciary after a five-year service when he turns 70.
Article 143 (1) of the Constitution states that a person shall be qualified for appointment as Chief Justice if he/she has served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda or of a court having similar jurisdiction or has practised as an advocate for not less than 20 years before a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters.
Background. Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe was born on June 20, 1950, to Yowana Magunda and Evirginia Engoni in Rugazi village, Bushenyi District now Rubirizi District. He is a member of the Supreme Court with a career in the legal profession, spanning about 33 years. The 64-year-old is married with six children. He becomes the first Chief Justice from western Uganda to assume this office since independence.
On 20th June 2020 a new Chief Justice will be named, the Judicial Service Commission has short listed 13 Candidates for position of Justice of the Supreme Court. They are Justice Geoffrey W.M. Kiryabwire, Justice
Justice Elizabeth Musoke, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Justice Hellen Abulu Obura, Justice Bashiraki Cheborion, Justice Ezekeil K. Muhanguzi, Justice Musota Stephen, Justice Percy Night Tuhaise,
Justice Murangira Joseph ,Justice Mike Chibita, Justice Adonyo-Atim Henry Peter, Brig. Charles Wacha Angulo, and Mr. Baku Raphael.
Whoever will be elevated to the Supreme Court Bench, will find
1. Hon. Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe ( Chief Justice)
2. Hon. Lady Justice Dr. Esther Kitimbo Kisaakye
3. Hon. Lady Justice Stella Arach-Amoko
4. Hon. Justice Eldad Mwangusya
5. Hon. Justice Rubby Aweri Opio
6. Hon. Lady Justice Faith Essy Mwondha
7. Hon. Lady Justice Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza
8. Hon. Justice Richard Buteera
9. Hon. Justice Paul Kahaibale Mugamba
10. Hon. Justice Jotham Tumwesigye (Ag. JSC)
11. Hon. Justice Augustine S. Nshimye (Ag. JSC)
The Judicial Service Commission will be naming successful candidates for the position of Chief Justice.