Judicial nominees, who is who on Museveni’s list

Tuesday February 26 2008

When information leaked last week that President Museveni had sent to Parliament a list of 16 nominees for appointment as judges, apart from the sigh of relief that dispnsing of justice will be eased, word in the corridors at Parliament was more about whether the era of Museveni’s much talked about Cadre for the judiciary had arrived.
Solomon Muyita profiles the 16 nominees.

Information available to Inside Politics indicates that the Judicial Service Commission (JCS) vetted and sent a list of 27 judicial officers for appointment to the President, but Mr Museveni in his wisdom knocked off 17 names, nominated six of his own preference to send a list of 16.
Neither the original list from the JSC nor the one the President sent to the Speaker of Parliament have been made public.

What the public knows is what has been leaked to the press which means that some of the names might be different on the final list when it is finally made public.

Mr Simon Byabakama Mugenyi

***image6*** His name is almost synonymous with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), meaning that he is one of the long-serving and dedicated officers at the directorate. Mr Byabakama has gone through the ranks at the DPP’s office, personally handling most of the high-profile prosecutions for the state and securing convictions against most of the offenders.

But Mr Byabakama’s low-side in his career could have been during the controversial prosecution of opposition Forum for Democratic Change president, Dr Kizza Besigye, on charges of rape which he lost in early 2006.

Dr Besigye’s prosecution on treason charges also turned controversial right from the start, and the government had to reinforce Mr Byabakama with lawyers from a private law firm, Kampala Associated Advocates, hired at Shs2.5 b.

Since 2006, Mr Byabakama has been holding the portfolio of a deputy director of Public Prosecutions (prosecutions, inspections and quality assurance).

Ms Irene Mulyagonja & Ms Ibanda Nahamya
Very little is known about these two female nominees, save for the fact that they are in private practice and that Ms Mulyagonja operates under Kakooza and Kawuma Advocates.

Mr Augustine Nshimye Sebutulo
He served in the current government for a number of years as State minister for foreign affairs. Mr Sebutulo had a double-jeopardy in 2006 in that he was dropped from his ministerial position as minister for regional cooperation, which he lost after he also his parliamentary seat.

Mr Ralph Ochan
***image2*** Sometimes he is referred to as a career permanent secretary. Ralph Ochan is one of the few people who have served the current government for several years as permanent secretary.

He was in the foreign affairs ministry for several years before he was switched to other ministries, the last one being ministry of Gender until his present job as Secretary (or PS) to the Judiciary. News of his nomination for appointment as a judge must have come as a big surprise to him.

Ms Zam Zam Nagujja
***image7*** She is currently at the IGAD Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She served under the UN in Afghanistan and as a state attorney and director of legal affairs in the NRM Secretariat. She holds a Masters degree in Law from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Mr Choudry
Little is known about him, including his other names, as he has rarely practiced law in Uganda. Choudry is a Ugandan of Indian origin. His father (not identified) lived in Uganda in the 1950s and 1960s, and served as the chief registrar of lands then. Mr Choudry is said to be practicing law in London, UK, and that his family owns a number of properties in a number of northern Uganda districts.

Mr Wilson Masalu Musene
He is the registrar, Land Division at the High Court in Kampala.
Mr Musene, who is a humble or usually quiet officer in the courts, is very senior and known to be one of the registrars who have waited for long, for unknown reasons, to be appointed a judge .
He has served at almost all levels including being the registrar in charge of the Supreme Court.                     

Mr John Wilson Kwesiga  & Mr Benjamin Kabiito
The two nominees have quite a lot in common. They both worked under the DPP’s office as state attorneys in the late 1980s until their promotion to ranks of principal officers. Mr Kwesiga was later posted to Arua as resident State Attorney, while Kabiito held the same portfolio in Kabale about the same time.

They later on resigned from public service and originally partnered in the private practice. The lawyers have since split. Mr Kabiito operates independently under Kabiito & Co. Advocates, while Kwesiga operates under Kwesiga & Katarikawe Advocates – both law firms sit on the same Musana Building on Nkrumah road in Kampala.

Mr Kabiito is said to have been the first secretary of the controversial Apparels Tri-Star garment factory at Bugolobi, in which government invested a lot of money.

Ms Jane Kiggundu
She is said to have set off her career as a state attorney under the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for a number of years.

Ms Kiggundu is known as a “buffer� as she has twice been appointed to take up acting positions in the ministry in crisis situations – the one of a judge would be the third.She was appointed acting Administrator General in the early 2000 when then AG was interdicted.

And she was moved to the office of Solicitor General late last year in acting capacity when Mr Lucian Tibaruha was interdicted.
She is one of the officers who have suffered the wrath of the current Inspector General of Government, Justice Faith Mwondha, who ordered her arrest and interrogation for several hours in her office when she defied orders to transmit some files to the IGG.

Ms Alex Nkonge
***image3*** Until recently, she headed the Legal Department of the Electoral Commission at the head office in Kampala, then got her current job as secretary to the Uganda Law Review Commission at Workers House in Kampala.

Ms Elizabeth Musoke
Not much is known about her, except that she until recently served as the director legal affairs with the Inspector General of Government.
Ms Musoke’s contract with the IGG’s office expired at the end of last year and she chose not to renew it – it is not clear whether she was expecting this appointment.

She is one of the officers said to be highly qualified to become a judge and she was first nominated as such about four years ago by the JSC. A top officer in the Ministry of Justice who was opposed to her nomination initially knocked her name off the list sent to the president, but JSC apparently got wind of that and re-instated her.

Mr Lawrence Gidudu
***image1*** He is a fairly young and energetic officer who has been in the Judiciary for over two-decades, rising through the ranks. Mr Gidudu known to be a no-no-sense judicial officer, especially to journalists not known to him, joined the bench as a grade one magistrate in 1987. Shortly after he  served as personal assistant to the then Chief Justice, Waako Wambuzi, before being appointed chief magistrate in Kabaale.

Among the other things Gidudu has done include being a registrar in charge of research and training and being a High Court registrar. He was appointed chief registrar of courts of judicature (a position he still holds), in August 2005 when his predecessor, Stephen Musota, was appointed judge.

Mr Joseph Murangira
***image5*** He was born 51 years ago at Nyarushanje sub-county in Rubabo in Rukungiri district. Mr Mulangira is one of the jolly officers in the Judiciary, and he has diligently served on the bench for over two decades through the ranks to his current position of registrar of the Court of Appeal of Uganda/Constitutional Court.

Mulangira holds a Masters in Laws from Makerere University (2005), Masters Degree in managerial studies from the Uganda Management Institute (2002), among a list of other qualifications.

Murangira has served the judiciary as assistant registrar (Supreme Court of Uganda), acting registrar (Nakawa Magistrates Court), grade one magistrate (Kampala, Kalisizo, Rakai and Kasese) and chairman of the Tax Appeals Tribunal (KCC).

He has also been chief magistrates in Masaka, Buganda Road Court and Kasese Magistrates Court, and also served as legal officer of Madhvani Group of Companies before joining the judiciary (1986-87). Mr Murangira is said to be an expert on land-related matters and has spearheaded a number of innovations in the Court of Appeal.

Mr Alphonse Owiny Dollo
***image4*** He is a private advocate, who served as the State minister for Foreign Affairs, and legislator for Agago county in the Sixth Parliament. Mr Dollo also served in the constituent Assembly in the early 1990s.

He was recently among the lawyers from the Acholi region who the LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony invited to Garamba to enlighten him about the International Criminal Court.