August 30, 2013

ULS to Challenge Odoki’s Reappointment in Court

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has unanimously agreed to challenge the reappointment of retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki in court if Parliament vets him.

Justice Benjamin Odoki has been re-appointed Chief Justice
Justice Benjamin Odoki has been re-appointed Chief Justice

After one of the members of the society Bruce Kyerere filed a petition that was discussed at the society’s extraordinary general meeting, the lawyers resolved that if all the other prayers in the motion are not achieved, they will challenge the reappointment in courts of law.

Kyerere’s motion sought to discuss the illegality surrounding the reappointment of Odoki and the consequences it has on the Judiciary, to ask Museveni to withdraw the appointment of Odoki, to implore Odoki to decline the appointment and to urge appointments committee of parliament to reject the appointment.

The lawyers argued that the appointment of Odoki will compromise the independence of the Judiciary and will create a credibility crisis in the third arm of government.

The petitioner said that the Judiciary cannot be embroiled in controversy because it is the arbiter of all controversies.

One of the lawyers said that the court of South Africa ruled when President Jacob Zuma appointed the Chief Justice illegally, that a country cannot have a Chief Justice working on tenure because it will compromise the autonomy of the Judiciary. The society by way of voting adopted the prayers of the petition.

Article 144 of the Constitution requires a Chief Justice to vacate the office on attaining 70 years of age. Odoki clocked 70 in March this year, retired in June but was reappointed in the same capacity by President Museveni in July.

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