September 3, 2013

Odoki Re-appointment: Matembe Attacks EU Envoy Ridolfi

Miria Matembe, a Human Rights activist and former Member of Parliament, has attacked the outgoing European Union Ambassador to Uganda, Roberto Ridolfi over media reports that he supports the re-appointment of Justice Benjamin Odoki as Chief Justice.

Matembe said that Uganda is not ruled by the European Union and wondered whether the European Ambassador is aware of Uganda’s Constitution.

Miria Matembe said that Uganda is not ruled by the European Union
Miria Matembe said that Uganda is not ruled by the European Union

She noted that it is Ugandans who should prevail and they should prevail through the Constitution and through their Parliament. She added that it is not the European Union Ambassador who must decide whether President Museveni is right to re-appoint Justice Benjamin Odoki or not.

Matembe further went to say it is not the EU representative to interpret Uganda’s Constitution.

However, Matembe expressed disappointment in the Judiciary saying that it is unfortunate that the Judiciary which is supposed to interpret the constitution is the very one involved in these wrangles of the Odoki re-appointment.

During a media discourse with Uganda Parliamentary Press Association last week,  Ridolfi said that President Museveni was right to reappoint Odoki as Chief Justice if he felt he was the best available candidate.

He noted that it was the President’s duty to ensure all critical positions of government are filled.

EU Envoy Ridolfi offered 'qualified' approval of Justice Benjamin Odoki reappointment.
EU Envoy Ridolfi offered ‘qualified’ approval of Justice Benjamin Odoki reappointment.

Ridolfi’s statement came as a surprise not only to Matembe but to many observers. In June, the Envoy expressed displeasure over failures in Uganda’s governance.

Matembe said that it is very disappointing when a man of high integrity, profile and long service like Justice Benjamin Odoki is dragged into wrangles that involve overstaying in office. She said it is especially sad as Odoki participated in making the very Constitution his extension of contract seeks to defile.

The Constitution of Uganda provides that a Chief Justice serves up to the age of 70 years.

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

The reappointment of Justice Benjamin Odoki continues to draw criticism from different groups across the political divide in the country.

However Odoki himself has said that he respects the Constitution and only continues to serve because he has been called upon to serve the country.

3 thoughts on “Odoki Re-appointment: Matembe Attacks EU Envoy Ridolfi

  1. The Ambassador is right. Justice Odoki is a superb, exceptional legal mind and well experienced at that. Thanks to the appointing authority having considered him for reappointment, as his record is excellent. As Ambassador said the Shs 5m which was paid to him as salary before was laughable. Justice Odoki is indeed a patriot and has his country at heart. He will also have time to amply benefit from his sweat as the salaries for Judges have been raised [a bit].

  2. Matembe is right, that ambassador does not have a moral/legal authority to interpret the Uganda constitution,

  3. Am so much disappointed with uganda constitution and ugandan at large. Does it mean that there is no any body who is qualified to do that work. So what is the use of the uganda law society and the study of law in the country.
    Where are we taking all the graduates who graduate annually.Never the less the interest of the greedy president will soon come to un end naturally.

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