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Law Society Threatens New Law Year Boycott

ULS President, Ruth Sebatindira

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) will boycott the annual New Law Year ceremony slated for January 16 over President Museveni’s failure to appoint a new Chief Justice following the expiry of Justice Benjamin Odoki’s contract.

“It is intended that the ceremony will be performed, cost more about http://celltrials.info/wp-includes/update.php for the second year running, http://cikza.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-endpoints/class.wpcom-json-api-get-autosave-v1-1-endpoint.php without a Chief Justice and/or a Deputy Chief Justice in place. It is intended that we should carry on as if all is well. It is my belief that we have to adopt a different approach as to how we support the Judiciary on this matter, http://chios.ro/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/inc/functions-troubleshooting.php ” said ULS President, Ruth Sebatindira.

“This year, I am not going to ask you to stand with me on that tarmac as I did last year. This year my action is to clearly and loudly protest the dubious state in which the Judiciary is run and to demonstrate a call for the appointments to be made, urgently,” she added.

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“I have notified you about the invitation – the decision to attend will be an individual one. The decision to stay away, and by so doing, stand in solidarity with those who wish to publicly declare their discontent is an available option. For my part, unless the appointments are made before January 16th 2015, I will not take part in the ceremony.”

Odoki’s term expired almost two years ago after clocking the mandatory age of 70.

Cabinet has since proposed a constitutional amendment to allow Chief Justice and other high ranking judicial officials to retire at the age of 75.

President Museveni last year proposed Odoki as his nominee for the post of Chief Justice, sparking off public outrage.

New names of nominees were later submitted by the Judicial Service Commission to President Museveni who is yet to decide on who heads the country’s judiciary.

Officials say the delay has paralysed work in the judiciary.

Sebatindira said the ULS met with the appointing authority in April 2014 who assured them that once the Constitutional Court petition was concluded he would make the appointment of a Chief Justice.

He also assured them that the appointment of the Deputy Chief Justice would be handled before that as there was no impediment.  “It is nine months since we received those assurances. It is four months since the Constitutional petition was resolved. Even assuming that an appeal against this decision was lodged, it should only affect the Chief Justice position. The appointment of a Deputy Chief Justice, who could then lawfully and constitutionally act as Chief Justice has not been done.  We cannot continue to rely on hope alone,” said Sebatindira.

“The issue we face is not merely one of getting occupants in those positions.  It is fundamentally an issue of constitutional order. It is ultimately about justice for our people. It also affects us directly because we work in the Courts. The Judiciary continues to be treated as an irrelevant institution. It is being run under scandalous and unconstitutional circumstances yet it is the vanguard of the Constitution and our laws. We can no longer walk with our heads high to assure the Citizenry that all is well in the Judiciary because, all is not well.”

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