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You don’t know the law, judge tells AG

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Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago addresses journalists outside court yesterday.

Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago addresses journalists outside court yesterday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

Posted  Wednesday, February 5   2014 at  02:00

In Summary

In a hard-hitting ruling, where he refuses to excuse himself from mayor Lukwago’s case, Justice Nyanzi says the Attorney General is ‘engulfed in legal darkness’

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KAMPALA

High Court Judge Yasin Nyanzi yesterday lashed out at attorney general Peter Nyombi, saying he is “engulfed in group legal darkness.”

Justice Nyanzi unleashed his scathing attack while he delivered his ruling in which he refused to disqualify himself from hearing the court case in which Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago is challenging the KCCA-Tribunal report that led to his controversial impeachment late last year.

In his ruling, Justice Nyanzi held that the Attorney General did not back his allegations with any evidence that he would be biased while handling Lukwago’s matter before dismissing the same with costs to Lukwago.
Justice Nyanzi accused Mr Nyombi for ‘changing reasons’ to justify his disqualification from the case and that his conduct is “embarrassing”.

“It appears to me that the Attorney General is in the group of legal darkness to make me disqualify myself from hearing the matter. He kept on changing reasons and there are so many reasons that he has not yet said, the sky is the limit,” Justice Nyanzi stated, to giggles from parties present in his chambers. “Before I take leave of this matter, the conduct of the Attorney General who is the head of the Bar is embarrassing given his letter to the Principal Judge when I was about to deliver my ruling was prejudicial,” he added.

Unethical conduct
“Such conduct is not expected of the attorney general….. for those reasons, the suggestion by the attorney general for me to disqualify myself, are not legally sufficient for me to grant his prayer to this application. This application is dismissed with costs to the respondent (Lukwago) and the case will proceed,” he ruled.

Yesterday’s ruling arises from the January 15 demands by Mr Nyombi, in which he tasked the judge to disqualify himself from hearing the case for fear that he would be biased based on an earlier “irregular” court injunction that he ordered registrar Fred Waninda to grant on his behalf that gave Lukwago a lease of life. Efforts to reach out to Mr Nyombi whose speech was recently grabbed from him at a public function for his comment were futile as our repeated calls went unanswered by press time.

AG to appeal
After court adjourned the Attorney General said he would appeal against Judge Nyanzi’s decision. Mr Lukwago asked Mr Nyombi to resign saying he did not know what he was doing. Mr Lukwago justified his demands for Nyombi to resign saying the court had also confirmed the Law Society’s move to suspend him for two years for alleged incompetence.

The Lord Mayor also vowed to have the earlier court order enforced and have him returned to City Hall to serve the people of Kampala who voted him. The issue of the executive arm of government denying Mr Lukwago access to his office at City Hall cause a heated informal exchange in the chambers between Lukwago’s lawyers and the attorney general’s representative.

Lukwago makes submissions
Lukwago’s host of lawyer; Peter Walubiri, Abdu Katuntu, Caleb Alaka, argued that the government is disobeying the earlier court orders that maintained their client’s status quo as the Lord Mayor until the main application is determined by not allowing him access his office and also denied salary.

Mr Katuntu submitted that the attorney general is running away from the subject matter and that its now the court which is under trial, an argument the judge concurred with.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com