The First Instance Division yesterday heard a case challenging the Government of the Republic of Uganda for the alleged refusal by the President to appoint more Judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court.
Mr. Ladislaus Rwakafuzi representing the Applicant Mr. Simon Peter Ochieng and John Tusiime both Ugandans, submitted to Court that the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, failing to respect the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission on the appointment of more Judges to these respective Courts following the resolution by the Parliament of Uganda to increase the number of judges as stipulated in Article 138(1)(b) of the Constitution is a breach of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community under Article 6 (d) and 7 (2) on fundamental principles of the Community and therefore its abuse of power.
The Counsel for the Applicants added that the alleged refusal by the government is an abuse of power and the President is exercising a discretion he does not have.
He further said that the names of the judges for appointment were seconded and presented to the President and that there has not been any action, which has caused some consequences such as some cases not being handled due to limited number of Judges.
Rwakafuzi stated that following the resolution by Parliament the number of judges of the Supreme Court should be increased from 7 to 11, the Court of Appeal from 8 to 15 and the High Court from 50 to 82 which has not been fully acted upon.
He therefore told Court that the refusal to respect the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission regarding the recommendation by the Parliament is a breach of law.
Ms. Christine Kaahwa Commissioner representing the Attorney General of Uganda submitted that the appointment of Judges for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court of Uganda is in process and that there is no refusal by the President to appoint more Judges as it is alleged by the Applicant.
Ms. Kaahwa further stated that the process of the appointment of four Justices of the Supreme Court; seven Justices of Appeal; and sixteen Judges of the High Court is on-going following the conclusion of the interviews exercise in November, December 2014 and March 2015 respectively.
Ms. Kaahwa also said that there is no proper binding and endorsed resolution by the Parliament as such to appoint Judges.
However, that there is a good spirit by the government to increase the Judges.
She further submitted that the government has delayed to appoint the Judges due to budgetary constraints.
Ms. Kaahwa therefore asked Court to find that there is no breach of the Treaty and to dismiss the matter.
Also present in Court for the Attorney General of Uganda were Mr. Oburu Odoi Jimmy Principal State Attoney and Ms. Kukunda Clare State Attorney.
The Court will deliver its Judgement on notice.
The matter came before Justices Isaac Lenaola Deputy Principal Judge, Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi and Justice Fakihi A. Jundu.