President of the republic of Uganda, HE Yoweri Museveni has written to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga requesting Parliament to approve Justice Benjamin Odoki as a Chief Justice on a two year contract in a letter dated August 9.
President Museveni based his re-appointment of Justice Benjamin Odoki by citing article 142 (1), 143 and 253 of the Constitution of the republic of Uganda
Article 142 (1) provides that the Chief Justice, the deputy Chief Justice, the Principle Judge, the Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice of Appeal and Judge of the High Court shall be appointed by the President acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission and with the approval of Parliament.
Attorney General, Peter Nyombi also defended Justice Odiki’s reappointment by quoting Article 142 (2) of the Constitution.
The article provides that where the office of a Justice of the Supreme Court or a Justice of Appeal or a Judge of the High Court is vacant, a Justice of the Supreme Court or a Justice of Appeal or a Judge of the High Court is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his or her office; or the Chief Justice advises the Judicial Service Commission that the State of business in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal or the High Court so requires, the President may, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, appoint a person qualified for appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court or a Justice of Appeal or a Jude of the High Court to act as a Justice or Judge even though that person has attained the age prescribed for retirement in respect of that office.
Article 142 (3) provides that an officer thus appointed can serve until the President revokes the appointment.
Article 253 of the Constitution provides that where any person has vacated an office established by the Constitution, that person may, if qualified, again be appointed or elected to hold that office in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Odiki’s reappointment has been a matter of controversy among lawyers and some have described it as unconstitutional by alluding to Article 144 (1) of the Constitution saying that it is mandatory for the Chief justice to retire upon attaining the age of 70.
Justice Benjamin Odoki’s term of office expired when he reached the retirement age of 70 years that is provided for under the Constitution.