What you need to know:
Filling up. The seven judges, though less than the number expected, will fill up gaps left by recent elevations.
Kampala. President Museveni has appointed seven new High Court judges, a move aimed at filling gaps left by the recent elevation of six judges to the Court of Appeal.
According to a letter to Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga dated February 5, Museveni appointed Mr Ketra Katunguka (from the Justice ministry), Flavian Zeijja (a lecturer at MUBs), Ms Anne Mugenyi Bitature (an assistant commissioner in URA), Ms Susan Okalany (senior principal state attorney), Mr Stephen Mubiru (lecturer at LDC), Mr Anthony Ayuko Ojok (private city lawyer), and Mr Moses Kawumi Kazibwe (lawyer in private practice).
Notable among the new appointees is Ms Okalany who is the lead prosecutor in the ongoing 2010 Kampala bombing case.
“…I have, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, appointed persons listed below as judges of the High Court,” Mr Meseveni wrote.
“This is therefore, to forward their names and curriculum vitae to you for the required parliamentary approval,” he added.
The appointment of the seven judges comes as a relief since the recent elevation of six High Court judges to the Court of Appeal had left a big gap.
Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine, who is the administrative head of the High Court, said the appointment brings the total number of High Court judges to 50. However, the approved structure is 82.
Mr Bamwine yesterday welcomed the appointment but said he had expected more than 10.
Mr Kagole Kivumbi, the secretary to the Judicial Service Commission, said those appointed had been interviewed in March last year through a process that he said followed that of the elevation of Bart Katureebe and Steven Kavuma to Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice and Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judges, respectively.
Mr Kagole added that more nine slots need to be filled and that the process of recruitment of more judges is still ongoing.
Asked when the House Appointments Committee will convene to vet the new judges, Mr Chris Obore, Parliament’s director for communications and public affairs, said: “Depending on Speaker’s schedule, the appointments committee could sit next week,” adding that the clerk will communicate to members the agreed date.
Process of vetting: The Appointments Committee is chaired by the Speaker and judges, like other public appointees, are vetted behind closed-doors. This is what the current rules of procedure calls for though there is a petition in court challenging the process of vetting in camera.