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Gov't Prepares To Defend Odoki Reappointment

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Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, who is hearing the case set January 13 as the date for hearing the petition.


Earlier on, last week, Karuhanga and his lawyer, Prof George Wilson Kanyeihamba told the Constitutional Court Monday that they intended to get an affidavit from James Ogoola, the Judicial Service Commission chairperson, to strengthen their case against Odoki’s reappointment.


Kanyeihamba said that they were positive about getting support from the Judicial Service Commission and they were to write to them asking them to swear in an affidavit in support of the petition.


However, if the petitioner’s request is accepted, the petition will make two government bodies clash against each other in Court.


Karuhanga petitioned the Constitutional Court in July contending the reappointment Odoki as chief justice.


In his petition, he argues that President Museveni followed the advice of Nyombi instead of that of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which he says is contrary to the law.


He further argues that it’s against the spirit of constitutionalism for the president to direct the JSC on who should be appointed judicial officers.


However, in his response to the petition, Nyombi argues that Odoki’s age, the attorney general argues, cannot be used as a ground to reject his appointment since Article 143 stipulates the requirements needed for judicial officers, and age is not one of them.


The AG also insists that Article 142(1) vests the power to appoint the chief justice in the president and the advice from the JSC is not obligatory.


Nyombi further states that in Justice Odoki’s re-appointment, there is no constitutional provision that prohibits the re-appointment of a justice of the courts of judicature even though he/she has attained retirement age spelt out by the constitution.


Odoki clocked the retirement age of 70 on March 23 this 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 in a July 9 letter addressed to the chairman of the Judicial Service Commission James Ogoola, directed that Odoki be given a two year contract in order to maximise the services of our human resource.

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