Analysis: Museveni Planning Odoki Return?


capsule geneva;”>Odoki’s term of office ended in June after clocking 70 years and serving the transitional three months.

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However, Odoki authored a paper calling for the amendment of the law to allow judges serve beyond the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The concept paper discusses appointments in the Judiciary including tenure of judges, re-appointment of retired judges, appointment of acting chief justice, acting deputy chief justice and acting principal judge.

The paper also calls for the raising of the age of retirement appointment of ex-officio judges in the appellate courts.

And while Museveni recently named judges for the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, he fell short of unveiling the new Chief Justice.

Odoki’s paper and Museveni’s delay to appoint another Chief Justice have since been interpreted by activists as moves intended to prepare the public psychologically for the re-appointment of the retired head of judiciary.

According to city lawyer and activist, Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, Uganda is facing a constitutional crisis because of “the President who has openly fought the judiciary, defying their judgments, establishing parallel structures, such as the Nantaba Land Committee, that seek to challenge the role of the judiciary.”

She adds: “Then of course there is the appointment of ‘cadre’ judges, the use and abuse of the DPP’s office whose main job has become to sanction lame charges against opposition elements.”

Asiimwe says “The last straw – which will be a big blow – are the current machinations to return the retired Chief Justice – well knowing that such a position is constitutionally untenable.”

“As the legal profession, indeed, as all Ugandans – we must use every means possible to challenge this chipping away at the third arm of Government. A strong, independent, transparent, functional judiciary is critical to our democracy, and every chipping away of its powers, every compromise of its independence, renders it weak and meaningless,” Asiimwe, also a member of the Black Monday, added.

“Having an overly strong Executive/Presidency, at the expense of the Legislature and the Judiciary is only a recipe for disaster and can only support a regime longevity and regime survival project. This does not augur well for Uganda.”

Odoki is considered one of the finest judges the country has ever heard. But he has since come under fire for being an NRM sympathizer, a charge he vehemently denies.


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