Museveni appoints Supreme Court judges, Principal Judge

Friday December 6 2019

Justice Dr Flavian Zeija, Justice Ezekie

L-R: Justice Dr Flavian Zeija, Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Justice Mike Chibita 

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

President Museveni has appointed the Director of Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita and two others as justices of the Supreme and also named a new Principal Judge to replace the retiring Justice Yorokamu Bamwine.
The Mbarara Senior Resident Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija, has been appointed the new Principal Judge of the High Court of Uganda.
Justice Zeija was first appointed judge of the High Court in 2016.

Justice Bamwine will leave judicial service on December 25 upon clocking the retirement age of 65.
The Principal Judge is third in the hierarchy of the Judiciary, coming after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.

Highly placed sources told Daily Monitor yesterday that the President had also appointed three justices to serve on the Supreme Court Bench.
Sources named the new Supreme Court judges as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Justice Mike Chibita, Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Percy Night Tuhaise who have been justices of the Court of Appeal.
The appointments were made this week.

The names have been forwarded to the Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga for parliamentary vetting next week.
The Senior Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Don Wanyama, confirmed the appointments but declined to give further details.
“The nominees have been sent to Parliament. The names are with the Speaker of Parliament. They should be appearing next Monday for vetting. You will get to know them,” Mr Wanyama told Daily Monitor by telephone yesterday.

He said the swearing-in of the new judges is tentatively scheduled for December 10.
The new appointments follow the earlier ones in October when 15 judges were appointed; 12 going to the High Court and three to the Court of Appeal.

The 15 have not yet been sworn in, but are also scheduled to take oath on Tuesday.
The appointments to the Court of Appeal include Irene Mulyagonja (current Inspector General of Government whose term of office expires early next year); Muzamiru Kibeedi Mutangula, (private lawyer) and Justice Monica Mugenyi (current Principal Judge of the East African Court of Justice based in Tanzania).

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Those set to serve in the High Court include Vincent Emmy Mugabo (the public relations officer of the Judiciary); Immaculate Busingye, Isaac Muwata, Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema, Isah Serukuma, Susan Abinyo, all court registrars.

Others are Esta Nambayo (current Chief Registrar); Jane Okuo Kajuga (spokesperson of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions); Boniface Wamala (personal assistant to the Chief Justice); Philip Odoki (personal assistant to the Deputy Chief Justice); Victoria Katamba Nakintu Nkwanga and Jeanne Rwakakooko.

The appointment of the 12 High Court judges brings the total number of judges to 62, though it is still 20 less than the approved structure of 82 for High Court judges.

Some of the appointed judges

Justice Dr Flavian Zeija

He was appointed justice of the High Court in 2016 and has served as Resident Judge in Masaka and Mbarara districts.
Prior to joining the High Court, he was the head of department of Business Law at the Faculty of Commerce, Makerere University Business School (MUBS), a position he assumed in 2007.
Between 2004 and 2012, he served as a member of MUBS Council and taught on the Masters of Law programme at Uganda Christian University from 2014 to 2016.
Justice Zeija enrolled as an advocate in 1998 and formed Zeija Mukasa and Company Advocates in 2003. He also served as company secretary and legal counsel for FINCA Uganda.

Justice Tuhaise
Justice Percy Night Tuhaise was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2018. Prior to that, she was the head of the Family Division of the High Court and also a member of the Governing Council of Judicial Training Institute.
She was on the panel of the International Crimes Division in the case of Uganda versus Siraje Kawooya & 13 others, which involved various Muslim clerics who were accused of assassinating rival Muslim leaders.
She participated in translation of the 1995 Constitution into Runyoro/Rutooro under supervision of the LDC.
Previously, Justice Tuhaise served as deputy director at LDC, vice chairperson of Electricity Disputes Tribunal, Commissioner at Uganda Law Reform Commission, National Coordinator of Women & Law in East Africa Uganda Chapter.
Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi. He headed the panel in the Muslim Clerics trial. At the time of his retirement from the High Court he was the Deputy Head of the International Crimes Division, a position he had held since 2014.
He has been judge in the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court.
Prior to that, he had served for four years as Resident Judge at Mbale High Court.
He started his legal career in 1977 as a State Attorney and left in 1980 for private practice only to return to public office in 2005.
Since 2013, Justice Muhanguzi has been serving as the President of Bible Society of Uganda. He is the Chancellor of African Rural University, a position he has held since 2010.

Justice Mike Chibita
He is a judge of the High Court but was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on October 14, 2013.
At the time of his appointment, he was the Deputy Head of the Land Division at the High Court. Prior to that he served at Masaka and Fort Portal High Court as Resident Judge from 2010-2011 and 2011-2013 respectively.
He worked as a State Attorney in the Attorney General’s Chambers Uganda (1994) and Personal/Legal Assistant to the Attorney General (1995-6).
Between 1996 and 2003, he served as a Private Secretary /Legal Affairs to President Museveni. He returned to the Attorney General’s Chambers as a Principal State Attorney, a position he held from 2003 to 2005. He worked at Uganda Revenue Authority as an Executive Assistant in the Commissioner General’s Office (2005-2010).

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com

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