April 10, 2014

Nyombi: Karuhanga Appeal Against Odoki Reappointment Illegal

Attorney General Peter Nyombi.
Attorney General Peter Nyombi.

Uganda’s Attorney General, Peter Nyombi has asked the country’s Supreme Court to strike out the notice of appeal lodged by Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga in connection to the re-appointment of retired Justice Benjamin Odoki as Chief Justice.

The AG claims MP Karuhanga served him with the notice to appeal outside the seven days stipulated under the Supreme Court rules.

Nyombi in his application dated March 24 to Supreme Court; explains that he was served with the notice of appeal, 18 days after being filed in court, an oversight he says is illegal and that the very notice of appeal be struck out with costs.

The legislator had through his lawyer Prof. George Kanyeihamba appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision of two Constitutional Court justices; Steven Kavuma and Augustine Nshimye for refusing to disqualify themselves from the coram hearing the Odoki reappointment petition over alleged bias.

Nyombi’s application is supported by an affidavit of Mr Richard Adrole, a state attorney in his chambers.

Mr Adrole states that MP Karuhanga on January 17 lodged a notice of appeal before the Supreme Court after the two justices declined to disqualify themselves from the coram hearing Odoki reappointment case.

He goes ahead to say that on February 3, the MP served the said notice onto the AG, 18 days after filing and yet the Supreme Court rules demand that such appeals should be served on the affected persons within a period of seven days after lodging a notice of appeal in court.

The Supreme Court had not fixed a date to hear AG’s application to have MP Karuhanga’s notice of appeal struck out.

Should the Supreme Court agree with the AG’s request to strike out MP Karuhanga’s notice of appeal, then the Constitutional Court will resume hearing Odoki case that has stalled since January this year.

Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga is challenging the re appointment.
Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga is challenging the re appointment.

This matter arose late last year when the youthful MP sued the AG before the Constitutional Court challenging President Museveni’s action in re-appointing retired Justice Odoki as Chief Justice; saying his reappointment contravenes articles 130, 133, 142 (1) (2) (3), 143 (1), 144 (1) (a) (2) of the constitution.

The law maker also argues that the constitution does not provide for the re-appointment of a retired Chief Justice to the post of a substantive Chief Justice of Uganda.

He further accuses the President of not following the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission that forwarded the name of Supreme Court Justice Bart Katureebe as the suitable candidate to replace Justice Odoki but the President instead re-appointed him, a move he says is unconstitutional.

But the government has since defended the re-appointment of Justice Odoki as being constitutional and that there will be no gross abuse of the rule of law and constitutionalism to that effect.

Justice Odoki clocked the retirement age of 70 on March 23 last year before serving out the three months extension that ended on June 23. He had served in the judiciary for 35 years with the last 12 as Chief Justice.

President Museveni has asked Parliament to approve Justice Odoki as the Chief Justice for two more years
President Museveni has asked Parliament to approve Justice Odoki as the Chief Justice for two more years

However, President Museveni in a July 9, 2013 letter addressed to the chairman of the JSC Justice James Ogoola, directed that Mr Odoki be given a two year contract in order to maximise the services of our human resource.

The President also directed that other three retired Supreme Court justices; John Wilson Tsekooko, Christine Kitumba and Gildino Okello; be recalled to the Bench and indeed they have reported for duty.

4 thoughts on “Nyombi: Karuhanga Appeal Against Odoki Reappointment Illegal

  1. Like the principle judge has said, some of these guys are totally insane. They are busy squandering tax payers’ money. How right was ILS certifying these people as grossly incompetent. Let’s keep watching where this will end!

  2. It seems to me the rejection of the appeal by this attorney general is what is illegal and suspect everything considered:

    A SUPREME COURT THAT SERVES ALL UGANDANS, NOT ANY PARTICULAR REGIME IN POWER IS A CRITICAL INGREDIENT FOR DEMOCRACY TO PREVAIL.
    I sincerely hope that this member of Parliament for the youth wants to ensure that the Judiciary is freed from the long arm of the Government and NRM regime’s manipulation in the interpretation, and in the actual delivery of the law via senior
    appointments to the Supreme court.
    This affects everyone in the legal profession and indeed the citizens of Uganda in ensuring they uphold the law and perform their fiduciary duty to see fair interpretation of the same in whatever capacity.

    It would be nice to know that this youth MP has the foresight to realize that without a free and independent Judiciary now, critically necessary not only to ensure the Judiciary becomes more efficient, trustworthy and accountable to all the people of Uganda in the honest, fair and equitable interpretation and dispensation of the law and NOT accountable to or for the appeasement of any regime and/or President in power at any given time as it is presently.

    The status quo scenario has ensured a corruptible judiciary for nearly 25 years; an affront to democracy, all its tenets and cannot be trusted come 2016.

    We know the outcome of a recent election in a neighbouring country, where the supreme court deliberating on a case in mind over an election outcome, due to an “electronic manipulation technicality” claim, then on another technicality deliberately refused or rejected to enter into submission, tangible evidence in the matter of contested elections results and,
    hence rendered a decision in the matter, that seemed to be a real insult to anyone’s intelligence, also leaving very serious doubts to this day.
    I leave the details of my argument for you to deduce, although in many people’s minds, this was the closest any country in the region ever got to having a truly free and fair election. Unfortunately the opportunity was lost at the last hour.

    So Mr. Karuhanga, If these are some of the motivating factors behind your petition, then my heart goes out to you and I commend you, for the wise foresight.

    Otherwise the wish for “free and fair” elections campaign would be in vain without
    reforming the Judiciary to serve the people of Uganda and not any regime or Government in power at any given time from here into the future hopefully.

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