Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo has asked government to raise the retirement age of judges.
He said this in a week in which major changes have been made to streamline the judiciary, with many younger judges actually being appointed to fill vacant positions.
Owiny-Dollo wants each position to get an extension of five years; magistrates to retire at 65, high court judges to retire at 65 while judges at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to leave at 75.
The deputy chief justice aired his remarks as the judiciary bid farewell to Justice Dr. Yorokamu Bamwine whose term as Principal Judge ends on Christmas day.
President Yoweri Museveni has as a result appointed Flavian Zeije as the new Principal Judge. Zeije has been head of the Mbarara High Court, the largest high court circuit in the country.
Relatedly, justices Mike Chibita, Percy Tuhaise, and Ezekiel Muhanguzi have been appointed by President Museveni to the Supreme Court of Uganda to replace their retiring colleagues Jotham Tumwesigye, Eldard Mwangusya and Augustine Nshimye.
Owiny-Dollo says Uganda loses seasoned judges to early retirement and as a result, the judges get employed by other countries.
New crop of judges
President Yoweri Museveni last week swore in 15 newly appointed Judges – three for the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court and 12 for the High Court.
President Museveni said he was happy to swear in a younger crop of Judges. “I used to swear in Judges older than me…I am now happy to swear in the ‘Kampala Parents group’ like Abinyo and Jeanne.”
Two of the new appellate Justices Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja Kakooza and Lady Justice Monica Kalyegira Mugenyi only received a presidential handshake because they already took the Judicial Oath and Oath of Allegiance when they were first appointed Judges of the High Court.
The third new Court of Appeal’s Justice Muzamiru Kibeedi and the 12 new High Court judges took the oaths and got the presidential handshake at the event at Entebbe State House.
New judges deployed
The outgoing Principal Judge Dr Bamwine has meanwhile deployed the 12 newly appointed judges to different stations. The administrative head of the High Court also transferred 21 other judges.
In a deployment circular dated December 12, Justice Dr Bamwine, who is due for retirement on December 25, says the deployment of the new judges takes immediate effect.
“For those in service, (the transfers) take effect from January 1, 2020, subject of course to the usual completion of partly heard cases in advanced stages and delivery of pending judgments and rulings at their current stations,” the circular reads in part.
Justice Dr Bamwine said all changes have been made “with a view of attaining more efficient delivery of judicial services”.
The 12 new High Court judges bring the total number of High Court Judges to 58 out of the approved structure of 82.
Meanwile, The Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Mike J. Chibita has appointed Senior State Attorney, Jacquelyn Okui as the new Public Relations Officer for his office. Jane Kajuga Okuo who held the position, has been appointed a judge of the High Court.
The newly sworn in High Court Judges are:
Lady Justice Esta Nambayo; Justice Isaac Muwata; Justice Isah Serunkuma; Justice Vincent Emmy Mugabo; Lady Justice Immaculate Busingye; Justice Philip Odoki, Justice Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema, Lady Justice Susan Abinyo, Lady Justice Jane Okuo, Justice Boniface Wamala, Lady Justice Jeanne Rwakakoko and Lady Justice Victoria Katamba Nakintu Nkwanga.