Expedite appointment of new Chief Justice

Sunday June 28 2020

Retired Chief Justice Bart Kaureebe. PHOTO |

Retired Chief Justice Bart Kaureebe. PHOTO | FILE 

By Editor

It is one week since immediate former Chief Justice Bart Katureebe hung up his judicial wigs and headed to his upcountry home.

Before he left the judicial scene, where he was at the helm of the Judiciary for the last five years, Justice Katureebe handed over the baton to his deputy, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo.

He said Justice Owiny-Dollo will hold the fort until President Museveni names a substantive Chief Justice, the fourth most powerful position in the country after the President, Vice President and Speaker of Parliament.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC), headed by Justice Benjamin Kabiito, concluded the interview process about two months ago and forwarded four names to President Museveni to choose from.

Equally, the outgoing Chief Justice is on record as having said he officially wrote to President Museveni, who is the appointing authority, about his looming retirement.

This means the ball is entirely in the President’s court to appoint a new Judiciary head.

Advertisement

Mr President, it is our stand that your quickly move to appoint a substantive Chief Justice and save the Judiciary and the country from the repeat of having an acting Chief Justice for two years, an ugly scenario that happened when former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki retired.

This was after Justice Steven Kavuma, then acting Deputy Chief Justice, was also appointed as acting Chief Justice for more than two years.

In the two years that the Judiciary did not have a substantive Chief Justice and deputy, so many administrative issues were not addressed and the Judiciary became the laughing stock, which some likened to chicken without both a neck and a head.

The delay at the time to appoint a substantive Chief Justice was after the President appointed retiring Odoki as Chief Justice on a two-year contract, a move that was challenged before the Constitutional Court.

But in the present case, there is no protracted legal battle in court to delay the appointment process.

Mr President, please save this country from the past mess and quickly appoint a new substantive Chief Justice if the Judiciary is to consolidate its gains and effectively adjudicate disputes in the country.

Advertisement