Museveni appoints 16 judges of High Court

Justice Benjamin Kabiito, the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that is in charge of hiring the judicial officers. Photo / File

What you need to know:

  • President Museveni has appointed 16 High Court judges in acting capacity for two years. Of these, seven are male and nine are female. These appointments are an outcome of the Judicial Service Commission’s ongoing recruitment exercise of judicial officers at various levels. This is the largest ever appointment of judges of the High Court, write Anthony Wesaka & Precious Delilah.

Regulation 19 of the Judicial Service Commission states that the commission may advise the appointing authority on the nature of appointment such as substantive, acting, contract, temporary or probation in respect of judges and registrars and shall have powers to appoint under any nature of appointment in respect of other judicial officers. 

Who are the new officers?

Susan Kanyange

 She has over 20 years of legal experience. Born in1974, the 48-year-old joined the Judiciary as a Grade One Magistrate in 2008 and rose through the ranks. 

Ms Kanyange started out as a legal assistant with Kityo Advocates. She graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Laws from Makerere University in 1997. 

She did her secondary education from Namagunga.

Mr Thomas Ocaya

The 50-year-old judge designate has been a practicing lawyer in private practice until his appointment.

He has since worked with Odere & Nalyanya Advocates (2001) and Kiwanuka & Karugire Advocates now K&K Advocates.

In 2016, he was part of a host of lawyers who were hired by President Museveni to defend his presidential victory that had been challenged by former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi.

He has also been involved in defending several parliamentary election disputes.

Ms Mary Ikit

She was born on October 1, 1971.

Ms Ikit obtained her Master’s Degree in International Business Law from Uganda Christian University, Mukono in 2020.

In 1997, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Laws from Makerere University.

At the time of her appointment, she had been a deputy registrar from December 2015 to date. Prior to that, she worked at different court stations including Mbale, Criminal Division of the High Court and Mukono High Court.

Mr Samuel Emokor

Until his appointment, he was the registrar of the High Court. He joined the Judiciary as a Grade One Magistrate in 2004 and rose through the ranks.  The judge designate graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Laws from Makerere University in 2002. 

Born on January 1, 1976, the 46-year-old studied his secondary education from Nabumali High School in Mbale District. Mr Emokor also has a Certificate in Law and Justice as tools of democracy from CBS Centre under the auspices of the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Allan Paul Nshimye Mbabazi

The 46-year-old advocate is the managing partner with Nshimye & Co. Advocates where he has worked for the last 15 years.  His previous work included being a lord counselor with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and also the diocesan chancellor of Mityana Diocese, a voluntary position in the Church of Uganda. He is pursuing a research in Masters of Laws. He graduated with an MBA in oil and gas from Uganda Christina University. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Laws from Makerere University in 2003.

His earlier education saw him study from Kibuli Senior Secondary School for A -Level and King’s College Budo for his O-Level.

Ms Harriet Grace Magala

 She is a partner with Grattam Advocates. Prior to that, she was a court mediator at the Commercial Court between 2010 and 11.   Between 2003 and 2016, she was a partner at Kituuma-Magala & Co. Advocates and a senior legal officer at Makerere University between 2005 and 2009.  Ms Magala obtained an MBA in International Business and Management from ESLSCA Business School, Kampala, between 2017 and 2019.

Ms Celia Nagawa

 She is an enrolled advocate, commissioner for oaths and notary public with 17 years in legal practice.

She has keen interest in litigation, corporate governance, legal compliance, human resource. Ms Nagawa is a professional associate in insurance. She has also served in both public and private sectors at national and international level.

She studied from the University of Sussex at Brighton, UK, where she obtained a Master’s of Laws in 2005. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Laws Degree from Makerere University in 2000.

Dr Douglas Singiza Karekona

Until his appointment,  the judge designate was serving as Chief Magistrate at Buganda Road Court where he had presided over several cases, including the controversial case of satirical book writer, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.

Born on July 7, 1969, the 53-year-old holds a Doctorate of Laws (Public Law) that he obtained from the University of Western Cape, South Africa.  He is also a holder of Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from South African University of Pretoria. He is also a graduate of Bachelor’s Degree  in Laws from Makerere University.

In 2016, President Museveni appointed him the secretary to the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters.

Mr Bernard Namanya

Born in 1975, the 47-year old judge designate has up to his appointment been in private practice with BNM Advocates from 2009 to date.

Prior to that, he worked with BKA Advocates formerly, Barugahare & Co. Advocates.

Ms Flavia Nassuna Matovu

She was born on March 18, 1969 and is married with four children.

Ms Nassuna attended Gayaza High School for O-Level and St Joseph S.S.S Naggaalama. She then obtained a Bachelor’s in Laws from Makerere University (1991 to 1994). She also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Uganda Christian University Mukono (2016 to 2018)

She was a legal assistant with Ms Kityo & Co. Advocates from 1995 to 1997, Ms Kiyingi & Co. Advocates from 1997 to 1999, Grade One magistrate at Nakawa, Mpigi and Masaka between 1999 and 2008, Chief Magistrate at Entebbe, Mpigi, Luweero and Nakawa from 2008 to 2015. Between December 2015 and 2020, she served as the deputy registrar for the High Court Execution and Bailiffs Division and High Court Inspectorate Division before becoming registrar/inspectorator of courts in October 2020, a position she held untill her appointment.

Mr Collins Acellam

He is a graduate of a postgraduate diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Centre in the 2002 cohort. Earlier, he obtained a Bachelor’s of Laws degree from Makerere University in 2002.

Since March 2013 to date, he is the managing partner/advocate with Acellam Collins & Co. Advocates based in Fort portal. He deals in legal research, preparations and submissions and correspondences, attending conferences and seminars and management of the law firm.

Between 2003 and 2013, he worked as a state attorney in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with his core roles being drafting legal documents for court purposes, prosecution of all criminal cases and perusing files. He also worked as a legal assistant with Adriko & Karugaba Advocates between 2002 and 2003.

Ms Faridah Shamilah Bukirwa

She is an advocate of the High Court, who has been working in the legal department of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) since March, 2010.

Ms Bukirwa has been involved in civil litigation matters involving the NCHE in the Supreme Court and all Courts of Judicature from 2010 to date. She has also participated in the development of legislation, including the proposed amendments to the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act, subsidiary legislation in regulations that guide the process of equating qualifications (2015), Fees Regulations (2019) and various policies at the NCHE.

Previously, she served on the Rule of Law Committee of the Uganda Law Society and participated in matters advocating for the rule of law,  dealing with the corporate governance matters at the council level and advising institutions of Higher Education on corporate governance.

She graduated with a postgraduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation at Uganda Technology and Management University. 

Between 2008 and 2009, she obtained a Master in Laws (LLM International Commercial Law) from the University of Birmingham, UK. 

She is a graduate of Bachelor of laws from Makerere University in the 1997 cohort.

Ms Christine Kaahwa

Born in 1969, the 53-year-old was the acting director of civil litigation from 2017 at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Ms Kaahwa will be remembered for having been a host of government lawyers who defended the Age Limit case.  Prior to that, She was the acting registrar of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Tribunal.

In 2012, she was the lead counsel in the commission of inquiry in the mismanagement of funds under the Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education.  She also worked as a principal state attorney in the Justice ministry where she grew in ranks to the position of acting director, civil litigation.

She obtained her Bachelor’s of Law Degree from Makerere University in 1991.  She went to St Mary’s College Namagunga for her secondary school.

Ms Patricia Mutesi

 Born in 1975, the 47-year-old judge designate was until her time of appointment, a principal state attorney in the Ministry of Justice.

She joined the same ministry as a state attorney in 2003 and rose through the ranks. Before that, she began her legal career as legal assistant in a private law firm.

Over the years, Ms Mutesi has defended government in court in civil disputes.  She is an old girl of Gayaza High School for her O-Level and Nabisunsa Girls’ School for her A-Level.

She was in Kitante Primary for her primary education. Her highest education level so far is a Master’s Degree in Laws from the University of Groningen in Netherlands. 

Ms Patricia Asiimwe

 Born in 1975, the 47-year-old judge designate was at the time of her appointment in private practice working with Sipi Advocates. 

She is a an advocate of the High Court who has advised government on a wide range of of legal issues successfully, negotiated contracts and participated in drafting of treaties and protocols.

She holder of Masters’ Degree in Laws from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. She also graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Laws from Makerere University. Ms Asiimwe also has a second Master’s Degree in International Economic Law from the University of Warwick.

Mr George Okello

 He is an advocate of the High Court with more than 15 years of legal experience. He has participated in litigation of precedent-setting cases in Uganda and at the East African Court of Justice. Some of the cases he has been involved in include Uganda Revenue Authority Vs Siraje Hassan Kajura and URA Vs UTODA. He holds a Masters Degree in Petroleum Taxation and Finance (distinction), which was conferred upon him on November 20, 2014.

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