Deputy Chief Justice Stephen Kavuma has declined to step aside from hearing of an appeal filed by Rubaga South MP Hon Kato Lubwama before the Court of Appeal.
This is in spite of objections from Lubwama’s opponent Habib Buwembo and his lawyers, to Kavuma’s presence on the panel.
Buwembo’s lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde from Legal Brains Trust (LBT) expressed reservations on Justice Kavuma’s presence on the panel to rule on Lubwama’s petition against High Court Judge Justice Oumo Oguli; who granted Buwembo permission to file an election petition after the legally specified time had elapsed.
The three Appellant Court judges on the case are Stephen Kavuma, Hellen Obura and Cheborion Barishaki
Ssemakadde filed an application challenging Kavuma’s presence on the panel, arguing mainly that he didn’t expect to get justice from him.
Ssemakadde says he has on several occasions filed complaints to the Chief Justice challenging Kavuma’s competence and character.
However, in Justice Kavuma’s ruling delivered today by the Deputy Registrar Deo Nzeyimana, he pointed out that in Uganda, legal practitioners have no right to decide on which judge should hear their matters.
“I am not persuaded to excuse myself from this matter because I took a judicial oath, which I have to respect and it’s that judicial oath that I will follow,” he ruled.
Justice Kavuma further ordered the Registrar to fix the appeal for hearing as soon as possible.
Addressing the press after court, Kato Lubwama welcomed the ruling and advised all his opponents not to drag political battles to court.
Counsel Isaac Semakadde on the other hand said that even though they won’t challenge the ruling, they will not stop questioning Justice Kavuma’s code of conduct
“We are glad that our complaints have been validated” he said, adding that he was unhappy it took Kavuma 6 months to make a ruling on this matter.