Retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki officially handed over power to his successor with an emotional appeal to him to have the Judiciary headquarters Constructed in his tenure.
Odoki who has served as the Chief Justice for the last ten years said he did not want to bother those who attended the function with what he had done or failed to do for the institution but was very particular about the need for the judiciary to have its own premises, the welfare of the judges to be improved and retired judges to be given their due benefits.
“We have not been able to build a home for the Judiciary. Plans have already been approved to put up two towers here (at High Court Kampala above City Square), one for the High Court Judges and another for the Justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court and there ongoing talks with the funders who will finance this project.
I would like to ask you before you leave, to ensure that this home is built,” Odoki told his successor Justice Bert Mugunda Katureebe who was seated just next to him.
He also asked him to ensure that the Administration of Justice Bill is passed by parliament and also to ensure that emolument of judges and other support staff is streamlined.
Odoki who described Katureebe as his student, “the Chief Executive Officer of the judiciary” and “the face of the Judiciary” encouraged him not to shy away from lobbying funds for the institution every time he comes across a Member of Parliament, a Minister or President Yoweri Museveni himself.
The function was attended by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affair Gen. Kahinda Otafire who said cabinet is already considering a bill to rise the retirement age of judges from 60 years to 65 and Judges of the Supreme Court from 70 to 75.
He asked Katureebe to always call upon them in case the security of any of his judges or staff is threatened.
The newly appointed Attorney General Fred Ruhindi also attended and said that if the government is bad, it is always all the three arms of government; Judiciary, Parliament and the Executive but people only single out the Executive arm.
Currently all Divisions of the High Court save for the Criminal Division and the Execution and Bailiffs Division are operating under rented premises.
The same is the case with the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.