Kampala, Uganda |GODREY SSALI | The Deputy Chief Justice Stephen Kavuma has refused to step down from hearing a case in which Rubaga South MP Paul Kato Lubwama is seeking to block the filing of an election petition against him.
Isaac Kimaze Ssemakadde , the lawyer representing Kato’s political rival Habib Buwembo had asked Justice Kavuma to excuse himself from the panel handling this case, on grounds that his client will not get justice as (Kavuma) has a personal vendetta against him (Ssemakadde).
In a letter addressed to Justice Kavuma, Ssemakadde expressed fear that given the duo’s present relationship where Ssemakadde has filed several suits and complaints before the Cheif justice and Judicial service commission questioning Kavuma’s impartiality and appointment as DCJ , Buwembo may not get justice.
However, in his ruling read by the Deputy registrar Deo Nzeyimana, justice Kavuma dismissed Ssemakadde’s request on grounds that it was professionally wanting having been based on mere speculation with no genuine concern as his relationship with a lawyer has no connection or effect to a party in any case.
Justice Kavuma also reminded Ssemakadde that he respects the judicial oath he took to dispense justice to all manner and kind of people for which Buwembo is not exceptional.
The judge however, noted that though the law requires a litigant or his lawyer to ask a judge to whom they may have an issue to excuse himself from hearing his/her case but this must be done for a genuine cause and not under the guise of choosing a judge that he wants to hear their case.
He then directed that the case be immediately re -fixed for hearing .
Lubwama wants the court of Appeal to reverse the decision of High court which allowed Buwembo to file an election petition challenging his academic qualifications outside the stipulated time frame.
However, Ssemakadde conceded that the case be heard hoping to atleast get solace from the other two judges on the panel; Hellen Obura and Cheborion Barishaki.