Sunday August 10 2014

Does the Judiciary still have people who care?

By Prof George W. Kanyeihamba

People were perturbed recently when two senior Justices of the Constitutional Court condemned a petitioner and his lawyers in a high profile case involving the appointment of the highest Judicial Officer in the Judiciary.

The condemned were deprived of their well-earned costs without the Court giving them an opportunity to deny and defend themselves against erroneous falsehoods for which they were accused of. Apparently, this may be because the innocent culprits had earlier acted correctly and professionally to the annoyance of the two and maybe several other judges of that court who appear to take the orders of a caucus within the legal fraternity.

Ugandans will be astonished to learn that there is a clique of free masons in the Uganda Law Society with a membership that includes senior lawyers, judges and government lawyers from the department of the Director of Public Prosecutions. They apparently share secret information and decide which lawyers, judicial officers or State Attorneys should be assigned what profile cases, win and lose or be awarded or denied costs in all sorts of self righteousness and vengence.

Shortly after appearing before the Constitutional Court Panel which included the two critics of the petitioner and his lawyers, some Judges approached the cartel of free masons of the Uganda Law Society and requested them to condemn this columnist, the petitioner and two other lawyers and so presumably deny them costs.

The free masons of the Law Society prepared and sent a condemnation warrant against the four innocent people to be published in the media condemning the accused without notice or the right to be heard which by the Uganda Constitution absolute right is.

Before the press could publish the false and damaging story against the four learned citizens, the free masons in the Law Society informed the press not to publish the material.

Unfortunately, for the free masons, this columnist and those with whom he was condemned, appear to act and behave courageously to the general approval and have a high rating in the eyes of the public.
It is this image of the unjustly condemned and deprived of costs that irks the free masons. The press therefore willingly and protectively sent us copies of the manufactured ill feelings and verbiage of abuse against the innocent.

These libels have since been publisised by the president of the Uganda Law Society and her fellow masons to all lawyers but apparently in fear of the invisible power and influence of the mafia in all legal fraternity of Uganda, few lawyers have come out publicly to defend the innocent against this free masons in the Uganda Law Society, Judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
It is by the clandestine activities of the menacing secret society that many cases are lost or won and innocent lawyers and judges condemned.

The litigant who was condemned along with his lawyers was in Court as a Petitioner and not Counsel. Yet, he was denied his costs. This is a tragedy. The reader may wish to know why we were condemned unheard. The Petition in which we were Lawyers was mishandled and mismanaged by the Judges of the Constitutional Court from beginning to end. At every opportunity, we politely raised points of injudicious acts and failures of the Justices and the Court Registry to abide by the norms of the Constitution and Laws of the country. Every piece of correspondence we sent except those to the Deputy Registrar of the Court was contemptuously ignored and was never responded to by the Justices.

At the same time we would occasionally be summoned with a day or less to spare or appear before their Lordships for some hearing or scheduling of an issue we previously knew nothing about. At one time, one of the Justices who condemned us unheard was reported in the Press to be frustrated by the deeds of his learned colleagues in the Constitutional Court. It was our courage to expose the rot of injustice and unprofessionalism in the Constitutional Court that caused the two Justices to condemn us unheard and deny our successful client the costs he richly deserves.

When I was a novice Judge in the Supreme Court, a lawyer who appeared before us acted unprofessionally. I proposed that we punish him by denying him professional fees. My colleagues on the panel who included the learned Chief Justice laughed and declined my suggestion, counselling that in situations where a court or a judge is administering proper justice, no one, let alone a lawyer, can be condemned or punished or deprived of costs without first being heard. Where else shall we seek justice for our client confronting undue influence of free masons. It is said the same menace has tentacles in other centres of legal activities.

Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.