Kampala-Today is the last day in office for High Court Judge Edmund Sempa Lugayizi as he retires from the Bench after the mandatory retirement age of 65.
Justice Lugayizi officially retired on February 10 but he had to serve the three months statutory extension to clear any pending judgments on his desk. The statutory extension ends tomorrow (Saturday). But since May 10 falls on a Saturday, which is not a working day, this means today is his last day in office.
Born on February 10, 1949, Justice Lugayizi’s judicial career climaxed in November 2005 when he stood his ground and released on bail former Forum for Democratic Change leader Kizza Besigye, who was facing treason charges with 14 others.
In his bail ruling of November 16, 2005, Justice Lugayizi held that ‘bail is a constitutional right’ and that Dr Besigye and others, who had substantial sureties, qualified to be released on bail.
However, the move angered the State, which reacted by besieging the High Court premises (commonly referred to as the infamous Black Mamba siege).
The Black Mambas interfered with the preparations of bail papers, intimidated the sureties and ensured that the released suspects were returned to Luzira prison.
The move caused public outrage, with lawyers and judges laying down their tools in protest against invading the ‘rule of law’.
Justice Lugayizi has been heading the Family Division of the High Court. Justice Percy Tuhaise, who has been his deputy, takes over.
act of humility
Judge Lugayizi is the only active judge who, on most occasions, preferred using his personal car as opposed to using a government car.