President Museveni is today expected to preside over the swearing-in of 16 High Court judges in acting capacity despite an unresolved case challenging their mode of appointment, the Monitor has learnt.
But sources within the Judiciary yesterday said since the petitioners, Dr Kabumba Busingye, a Makerere University law don, and lawyer Andrew Karamagi, have not secured an injunction to stay the swearing-in of the 16 judges, they will go ahead with the function.
President Museveni on May 25 appointed the 16 judges but in acting capacity for two years, a move that prompted the petitioners to run to the Constitutional Court. The petitioners contend that the judges’ appointment violated several constitutional provisions which refer to supremacy and the independence of the Judiciary.
“The actions of the Judicial Service Commission and the President in advising and appointing acting judges contravenes the spirit of the security of the tenure for the judicial officers and undermines the provisions in Articles 128, 144 and 147 of the Constitution,” their petition reads in part.
“The acts of the Judicial Service Commission and the President subjecting the appointment of the judges ... to an acting period of two years is out of the boundaries of the powers granted by the Constitution hence, a violation of Articles 2, 138, 142 and 144 of the Constitution,” they add.
Through their lawyers, the petitioners now want the court to declare that the actions of President Museveni and the JSC are unconstitutional.
In alternative, the petitioners want court to direct government to make the judges’ appointment as permanent as provided for under Article 144 of the Constitution.
However, the government claimed the President and JSC’s action is within the mandate and powers granted by the Constitution and is not a violation of Article 2, 138, 142 and 144.
The judges to be sworn-in include Ms Mary Ikit, Mr Douglas Singiza Karekona, Ms Susan Kanyange, Mr Samuel Emokor, Ms Flavia Matovu Nassuna, Ms Patricia Kahingi Asiimwe, Mr Bernard Namanya, and Mr Thomas Ocaya Ojele Rubanga. Others are Ms Grace Harriet Magala, Mr Collins Acellam, Mr Allan Paul Nshimye Mbabazi, Ms Patricia Mutesi, Ms Christine Kaahwa, Mr George Okello, Ms Celia Nagawa, and Ms Faridah Shamilah Bukirwa.