Constitutional Court Annuls Odoki’s Reappointment

Three judges of the Constitutional Court have already ruled that the reappointment of Justice Benjamin Odoki as Chief Justice after his retirement was unconstitutional.

The Chief Justice Benjamin-Odoki
The Chief Justice Benjamin-Odoki

 
Justices Eldad Mwangusya, Solomy Balungi Bossa and Professor Lillian Tibatemwa have ruled in favour of the petition challenging Odoki’s appointment, while Justice Rubby Aweri Opio is now reading a dissenting judgement.

Justice Remmy Kasule will be the last to read his judgement.

The highly anticipated judgment is based on a petition by Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga who argues that President Museveni’s decision to reappoint Justice Odoki back into office after clocking the age of 70 and retiring in June last year, was unconstitutional.

The ruling had initially been scheduled for last Monday which however, coincided with a public holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr.

This high profile petition arose in August last year after President Museveni wrote to Justice James Ogoola, the chairman of the Judicial Service Commission, directing that Benjamin Odoki be given a two-year contract in order to maximize the services of “the country’s human resource.”

However, the reappointment was challenged in court by MP Karuhanga on grounds that it was unconstitutional. Karuhanga said Odoki had clocked the mandatory constitutional retirement age of 70 and was ineligible for the same post that he had held for twelve years.

The law maker also argued 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 accused 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 the latter, a move he says is unconstitutional.

This petition was heard one sided on June 16 as MP Karuhanga and his lawyers of GW Kanyeihamba and Company Advocates walked out of court protesting the re-constitution of a new panel to hear the petition.

The country has not had a substantive Chief Justice since March last year when Justice Odoki officially retired.

1 thought on “Constitutional Court Annuls Odoki’s Reappointment

  1. Surely the man is not a fool. He had an open goal. He should have told M7 thank you but no thanks. His integrity would have outlived him. Now he will be remembered for wrong reasons. That is his legacy. Indeed he may be a case study for future lawyers.

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