The deputy Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, has castigated government over failure to financially support judges after they have retired from civil service.
Justice Owiny-Dollo made the remarks during the burial ceremony of former Supreme Court Judge John Wilson Tsekooko on Saturday in Bunakhaima Village in Butiru Sub-county in Manafwa District. He died at 77 years.
He said the government should stop the habit of waiting for judges to die before they show concern.
“If this condolence money had been given to our retired judge Tsekooko when he was still alive, he would have sought better treatment in India and he would perhaps have lived for more years,” he said, while handing over Shs30 million to the bereaved family from the government.
Justice Owiny-Dollo, who eulogised the late as an eminent son of Uganda, said his death should be a wake-up call to the government to consider handling welfare of retired judicial officers with seriousness.
“The government should look after the judicial officers not only when they are in service but also when they have retired. When you are a judge, your freedom is removed. You don’t exercise freely like others and you do not even do business,” he said.
Justice Owiny-Dollo said Justice Tsekooko was accessible to everyone and delivered his judgments in accordance with the law.
According to the medical report, Justice Tsekooko died of prostate cancer at Norvik Hospital in Kampala last week on Monday.
President Museveni in his condolence message read to the mourners by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Kahinda Otafiire described the late as a learned man of great importance.
Mr Museveni, who contributed Shs10 million towards his burial arrangements, asked the judicial officers to emulate the late.
“Death has taken from us a learned man of great experience who was steadfast and candid. He served Uganda with diligence in various capacities. The country shall remain indebted to his dedicated service in the Judiciary, where he worked as state Attorney, High Court Judge and Justice of the Supreme Court,” his message read in part.
Gen Otafiire said the government is committed to supporting the welfare of judicial officers.
“We introduced administration of Justice bill which is before Parliament and it has clauses of supporting judicial officers while in their retirement,” he said.
Gen Otafiire eulogised the late as an upright man.
Dr Dennis Bwayo, a son of the deceased, described the late as a loving and caring father.
The Member of Parliament for Buyaga West, Mr Barnabas Tinkasiimire, said the country had lost a man of integrity and a lover of rule of law.
Ms Rose Mutonyi, the Member of Parliament for Bubulo West in Manafwa District, praised the late as an icon in Bugisu Sub-region and the country at large.
“He .. called a spade, a spade in the Judiciary. We have very few people of his calibre in this country and Bugisu as a region,” she said.
The MP Lwemiyaga County, Mr Theodore Ssekikubo, said Justice Tsekooko was not a political judge.
Justice Tsekooko born in 1942 is survived by a wife, Dr Pauline W. Tsekooko, eight children and nine grandchildren.
He joined legal practice in 1968 as State Attorney in the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, where he served at various duty stations up to 1974. He was appointed a High Court judge in 1990.
In 1994, he was elevated to the Supreme Court Bench.