Unless they fail the beat the last hurdle; the parliamentary approval, 14 people are slated to become judges both at the High Court and the Court of Appeal which doubles as the Constitutional court.
President Museveni appointed them on Thursday, using the powers vested in him by article 142 (1) of the constitution, in a bid to fill the existing gaps in the courts of judicature. Chimpreports’ Derrick Kiyonga breaks down the careers of the prospective judges.
Court of Appeal
Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi (66)
Muhanguzi’s appointment to the Court of Appeal comes as a surprise since he was supposed to have retired last year.
He in fact left and was replaced as the presiding judge, in the case where several Muslim clerics including Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, the head of the Tabliq sect in Uganda were accused of terrorism, murder and attempted murder.
Although he had spent approximately 13 years at High Court serving various divisions and circuits, Muhanguzi is most remembered in the case which came to be dubbed as “ Sheikh’s trial,” in which he left an unfordable mark.
He, together with Justices Jane Kiggundu and Percy Nigh Tuhaise sentenced Sheikh Kamoga, his brother Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, Sheikh Siraji Kawooya and Fahad Kalungi to life in prison having found them guilty of some aspects of terrorism.
At the time of his retirement, he was the Deputy Head, International Crimes Division, a position he had held since 2004.
Prior to that, he had served for four years as Resident Judge Mbale High Court circuit. He started his legal career in 1977 as a State Attorney and left in 1980 for private practice only to return to public office in 2005.
Since 2013, Justice Muhanguzi has been serving as the President of Bible Society of Uganda. He is the chancellor of African Rural University, a position he has occupied since 2010.
From 2009 to 2012, he served as chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry (Mismanagement of Funds under Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education). He also served as member of the Judicial Service Commission.
Justice Stephen Musota (59)
Justice Musota, if cleared to join the Appellant Court will be leaving the Civil Division of the High Court which he has headed since 2013.
Musota took over from Justice Eldad Mwangusya who was promoted to the Supreme Court via the Court of Appeal.
He too has handled a multitude of controversial cases, among them one that pitted the NSSF and its top echelons against its then Deputy MD Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa, whom they wanted out. Justice Musota fined the workers’ Fund Shs 200 million for contempt court orders. They had side stepped Musota’s order which halted the decision by the NSSF’s board to send Busuulwa on forced leave.
Justice Musota is truly a career judicial officer who has served for 33 years in the Judiciary.
He holds a Bachelor’s of Laws Degree from Makerere University (1982) and a diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre (1983).
He has undertaken several tailor-made courses and trainings relevant to the execution and enhancement of performance as a judicial officer at all levels.
He started out as a Magistrate Grade One in 1984 and was promoted to Senior Principal Magistrate Grade One in 1992.
He went on to work as chief magistrate, deputy registrar and registrar of the High Court. In 2000, he was appointed the chief registrar of the Judiciary on promotion, a position he held up to 2004 when he was appointed Judge of the High Court. His major areas of interest in Law and Practice are Civil Law and Practice.
He was appointed by the Chief Justice to be member of Task Force on the Reforms of Criminal and Civil Laws in 2015. In 2016, he was named a member of the Case Backlog Reduction Committee and now a standing committee. In 2017, he was appointed a member of the Committee on Reform of Legislation on Civil Procedures in Uganda. He is married with children.
Percy Night Tuhaise (59)
She is the head of the Family Division of the High Court and doubles as a member of the Governing Council Judicial Training Institute.
She was one of the trial judges in the Muslim clerics’ murder trial between 2016 and 2017. Tuhaise participated in translating of the 1995 Constitution into Runyoro/Rutooro under supervision of the LDC.
Previously, Justice Tuhaise has served as Deputy Director LDC, Vice Chairperson Electricity Disputes Tribunal, Commissioner, Uganda Law Reform Commission and National Coordinator, Women & Law in East Africa – Uganda Chapter.
She has also authored a number of publications including Human Rights and the 1995 Constitution, Uganda Law Focus, 1998, Vol.1 No.1 p.30, Affirmative Action and the Status of Women in Uganda, East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights, Vol.6 No.1 p.98 (co-authored).
She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree (1981) Makerere University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (1982), Law Development Centre (LDC), Master of Laws (LLM) degree (1999) Makerere University.
Justice Tuhaise has acquired a number of certificates including; Justiciability of Social Economic Rights in Africa (2013) University of Pretoria South Africa and Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism offences in the Horn of Africa Region May 2016, Valetta Malta, by the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law.
Justice Christopher Izama Madrama (56)
Madrama as a judge will have his name imprinted at the Commercial Court because he has cut his niche as a judge who vastly understands commercial and business law.
But to Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu, perhaps, it is good riddance. In 2015, Justice Madrama moved to settle the legality of mobile money services following a suit filed by Katuntu who was at the time was the shadow attorney general.
Katuntu through Muwema and company advocates dragged telecoms such as MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, Orange (Africell) plus Bank of Uganda, asking court to “declare all telecommunications mobile money business illegal”.
Katuntu argued that Bank of Uganda and Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) had breached their statutory duties by permitting the said telecoms to carry out business of financial institutions.
But, Justice Madrama turned the burden onto Katuntu, saying that as an MP, he had the capacity to move parliament to expand the definition of banks or financial institutions to include telecommunications companies.
Another person who would love to see the back of Madrama is of course former Kampala mayor Al Hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebaggala who in 2013, sought Shs 8 billion from MTN accusing the telecom of using his voice as a ringtone without his authorization.
In the famed judgment, in 2015, Madrama, frankly told Ssebaggala he is neither the legal author nor the performer in the contentious tunes and therefore was not entitled to any compensation. The judge told Ssebaggala, that the interview with the media, which MTN co-opted as a ringtone, is not a private conversation since one cannot control how the recording is going to be used.
Madrama holds a holds a Bachelor’s of Laws Degree (LLB) from Makerere University (1989), Post graduate diploma from Law Development Centre (1990) and a Master of Women’s Law from the University of Zimbabwe.
He also holds several other certificates under the continuing legal education program for lawyers. His legal career started as a state attorney in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in 1990. He served in this position for up to 1999 when he was promoted to Principal State Attorney. Later that year, he left and joined Law Development Centre as a Senior Legal Officer.
Between 2001 and 2010, Madrama was a Principal Legal Associate at Katende Ssempebwa and Co. Advocates. It is in 2010, that he was appointed a Judge of the High Court. Previously, he worked as a research assistant with the Commission of Inquiry into the Judiciary 1994-1995. He has also authored several publications including; The Problem HIV/Aids: A Discourse on Laws, Marriage and the Subordinate Status of Women in Uganda.
APPOINTEES TO THE HIGH COURT
Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa (49)
He has been serving as Chief Registrar since 2014. He holds a holds a Bachelor’s of Laws Degree from Makerere University (1993), post graduate diploma from Law Development Centre (1994) Master’s degree of Laws in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from Pretoria University (2002).
He joined public service in 1995 as a Magistrate Grade One, rising to the position of chief magistrate of the white collar criminal court in Uganda.
Between May to August 2004, he was a Visiting Professional in the Legal Advisory Section of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.
Mr. Gadenya was later assigned acting assistant registrar of the Civil Division of the High Court between 2005 to June 2007.
In 2007, he was appointed deputy registrar, and served at the Civil Division of the High Court. Between July 2008 and August 2009, he served in the same capacity at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court. He took a break from the bench and went on to work as Senior Technical Advisor of the Justice Law and Order Sector between September 2009 and April 2014. Thereafter, he was appointed the chief registrar of the Judiciary, a position he has held to date. He has been instrumental in reforming the Judiciary into an accountable, business oriented and yet a people centric institution. In particular, he has worked on the restructuring of the Judiciary, designing a case backlog reduction strategy; reforming and rationalising the Inspectorate of Courts; developing a schedule of duties for Registrars and Magistrates; rationalising staff posting to the workload; open up the Judiciary to the public through the establishment of a vibrant public relations office; leading the drafting of the 4th Strategic Investment Plan for the Judiciary; Reform of Sentencing and roll out of plea bargaining and promoting better understanding of the role of the Judiciary to the Legislature and the Executive.
He has been the acting registrar in charge of the Court of Appeal. He started his career as a Project advocate of the legal aid Project of the Uganda Law society in Kabarole branch between 1997- 1999. In 1999 he moved to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions as a state attorney. He was appointed a Resident State Attorney Buganda Road Court in 2000 and moved to Makindye Chief Magistrate in 2001 in the same capacity. In 2003 he became an associate partner and external oral examiner at Law Development Centre. He was appointed a Principal Legal Officer Planning, Research and Inspectorate in 2005 a position he held till 2009. He joined the Judiciary as an assistant registrar attached to Gulu High Court in 2009. In 2010 he was transferred to the International Crimes Division and later moved to the High Court Civil Division in 2014. In the same year he was appointed the acting Inspector of Courts till 2017 when he was transferred to the Court of Appeal. Born on the 23rd December 1970, Mr. Asiimwe went to Bugema Adventist College for his O’level (1987-1990). He later moved to Light College Katikamu where he obtained the Uganda advanced Certificate of Education (1991-1993) and from here he moved to Makerere University for his Bachelors in Law (1993-1997), then to the Law Development Centre for his Post graduate in Legal Practice. He holds a Masters in Business Administration, ESAMI.
Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya
January 2014 will be stuck for a while in the mind Kazaarwe. This was when she had to determine as Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, a case the case Rosemary Namubiru who was accused of intendedly pricking her index finger and using the same cannula on a three year old baby well knowing that she was HIV-Positive.
Though the boy was later found to be HIV-negative having received Post –exposure prophylaxis (PEP) Kazaarwe was un- moved.
She sentenced the elderly Namubiru to three years in prison having adjudged her of professional negligence under section 171 of the panel code.
On appeal a couple of months later however, Justice Frank Albert Rugadya Atwoki of the High court quashed the three year sentence. Much to the chagrin of the toddler’s family, Justice Rugadya, who had a reputation of dishing out harsh sentences, argued the eleven months Namubiru had spent in prison were enough.
Kazaarwe is a career judicial officer, presently assigned to the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters as Commission Secretary. She is also a deputy registrar attached to the Commercial Division of the High Court as Deputy Registrar since January 2017. Prior to the posting, Mrs. Mukwaya was an Ag Registrar, Planning and Development – a Judiciary arm that partly coordinated the multi-million dollar DANIDA-funded Uganda Good Governance Project. Under the Project, she directly supervised the implementation of a number of Judiciary development programs and Access to Justice Initiatives.
Ms Kazaarwe has a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management from Uganda Management Institute, Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Center and a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University. She has over 17 years of mainly judicial work experience, starting out as a Legal Associate with Ruyondo & Co Advocates in 1999. She joined the Judiciary as a Magistrate Grade One (2000-2004) and rose to Senior Magistrate Grade One (2004-2008). In 2009, she became Personal Assistant to the then Deputy Chief Justice, Laetitia Mukasa Kikonyogo, leaving on promotion as Chief Magistrate in 2010, and served in Hoima and Buganda Road Courts in Kampala up to 2014. In May 2014, she was briefly posted to the Inspectorate of Courts as an Ag. Assistant Registrar, before she was assigned to manage the donor project. Kazaarwe also works on the Executive of the National Association of Women Judges of Uganda as a secretary and engages in part-time work as an External Examiner at the Law Development Centre.
Alex Mackay Ajiji (57)
He is the deputy registrar at the Family Division of the High Court in Kampala. Ajiji in 1984 worked as a Grade III Magistrate where in Soroti and Bugondo Court till 1989 and was promoted to Magistrate Grade II and worked in Kaberamaido court between 1990 and 1992.
He was promoted to Principal Magistrate Grade II in 1993 and he was deployed in various courts including Katakwi, Lugazi, Makindye, Nabweru and Nakawa. In 2003 he was appointed a Magistrate Grade I Mbale a position he held till 2005. In the same year he was transferred to Kumi Magistrates Court where he served till 2008. He was appointed Personal Assistant to the Principle Judge in 2008, a position he held till 2010. In the same year he was appointed acting assistant registrar War Crimes. He was later transferred to Court of Appeal in the same capacity in (2011-2012). He moved to the Land Division in (2012-2013). He was promoted to Chief Magistrate in 2014 and was deployed in Rukungiri. He later moved to Mbarara in 2015 in the same capacity. In 2016 he was promoted to the position of Deputy Registrar and served in the Civil Division and later moved to Family Division.
He started on the lower bench as a Magistrate Grade III in 1994 and served for three years before being elevated to Magistrate Grade II in 1997 and served in that capacity up to 2000 when he was appointed as Magistrate Grade I.
Mr. Baguma served in this capacity for 12 years before being promoted to Principal Magistrate Grade I. In 2015, he became Ag. Assistant Registrar Execution and Bailiffs Division, a position he held up to 2016 when he was posted to Mukono as Chief Magistrate. In Mukono, he doubled as the acting assistant registrar. He has a wealth of experience and training in Plea Bargaining from the University of Pepperdine, Oil and Gas from International Law Institute, Dubai, Prevention of Corruption from International Law Institute, US among others.
She is the acting deputy registrar at the Commercial Court Mediation Registry. She started her career in 1999 as a Legal officer at the Legal Aid clinic at the Law Development Center. She was appointed a Magistrate Grade one in 2000 and was deployed at Buganda Road Court. She was deployed to Mubende (2002) and later moved to Mukono (2003). She was appointed personal assistant to the then Deputy Chief Justice Laetitia Mukasa Kikonyogo in 2005 a position she held till 2008. In the same year she was promoted to the position of chief magistrate was deployed at Makindye Chief Magistrates Court (2008-2011) and later to Entebbe Chief Magistrates Court (2012-2014). She was appointed an Acting Assistant Registrar Court of Appeal in 2015 and was later deployed to Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court in the same year. In 2016 she was appointed acting assistant registrar Mediation, Commercial Court. Ms Kavuma was born on the 18th October 1974. She went to St Mary’s Namagunga for both her Uganda Certificate of Education and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (1987-1992). She obtained her Bachelors of Laws degree from Makerere University (1996). She enrolled for a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal practice (1997).She holds masters from both Mukono University (Master of laws in International Business) and Uganda Management Institute (Masters in Management Studies).
Jane Frances Abodo
Abodo has been a State Attorney who is cut her niche as prosecutor who goes after the corrupt at the Anti-graft court, headquartered in Kololo.
One person who will never forget Abodo is Geoffrey Kazinda the former principal accountant in the Prime Minister’s office (OPM). In 2013, Kazinda was charged with forgery and being in unlawful possession of government stores. Kazinda had allegedly forged 26 signatures of his then boss and former Permanent Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister (OPM), Pius Bigirimana with the intention to defraud the OPM of billions of shillings
Kazinda was expected to have a field day having hired a litany of topnotch lawyers who included, seasoned criminal lawyer MacDosman Kabega his associate Tom Magezi, Isaac Walukagga of MMAKS Advocates and Augustine Idoot now with Kampala Associated lawyers (KAA).
On the other side, Abodo, whose specialty is white collar and cybercrime led a lean team from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and many legal analysts thought that they will be outthought and overwhelmed by Kazinda’s smart lawyers. They were wrong.
On June 23, 2013, Justice David Wangutusi sentenced Kazinda to five years in prison having found him guilty of 29 counts of fraud.
Abodo holds a Master of Laws from Trinity College Dublin (2016). In 2015, Abodo was recognized by the Uganda Law Society as the best prosecutor of the year.
Her office boasts of the highest conviction rates in Uganda.
For eight years she has headed prosecution arm of the Anti-Corruption Court – as area that has not had integrity issues during her time.
Over time, Ms Abodo has also grown through the ranks. She started as a pupil state attorney before moving to senior state attorney, principal then attorney principal and now to senior assistant DPP. Hailing from one of the most remote regions of Uganda, Abodo is the ninth among 62 siblings.
Sabiti was the Executive Director of Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority until March 2017. She holds a post-graduate diploma in public procurement management from ILO Turin in Italy. Prior to that, she served as a legal adviser to the PPDA.
Ssekaana is one of the senior lawyers that recently represented many of the NRM legislators whose elections had been contested in the courts of law.
One of these was Nansana municipality MP contestant Robert Kasule Ssebunya who was to overcome popular MP Nsereko Wakayima Musoke, who was thrown out the house on grounds that he used different names on his academic papers, National Identity card and the voters’ registrar. The High court and the Court of Appeal not only annulled Wakayima’s election but they also controversially ruled that Ssekaana’s client Ssebunya was the rightfully elected legislator for the constituency.
At the time of his appointment as High court judge Ssekaana has been a Partner in Ssekaana Associated Advocates & Consultants in Uganda; handling a wide range of legal issues in civil procedure, Civil and commercial and public law and Criminal litigation, taxation, land matters, Family issues and General practice. He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from Makerere University and a Masters in Law (LL.M Legislative Drafting) from the University of The West Indies-Cave Hill campus Barbados and a Diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Center. His major competence is in the areas of Legislative Drafting, Civil and Criminal Procedure and Commercial Litigation, Public law and Revenue law. He has been involved in a range of other legal consulting and training assignments including Training in the Local Governments specifically on modules on legislation. Ssekaana has also been involved in the facilitation/lecturing/training of Bachelor of Laws students at different Higher institutions of Learning i.e Law Development Centre, Uganda Christian University Mukono and Islamic University in Uganda and also students undertaking their Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Islamic University in the fields of Administrative Law, Business Law and Revenue Law and Taxation in Uganda.
Presently he is lecturing at Law Development Centre (Part-Time) as Professional Advisor/Lecturer for Civil Proceedings and Commercial Transactions for post graduate/bar course students. He has been involved in writing law books in specific areas of interest that are currently widely used by the students and lawyers in Uganda and is now deemed an authority for these areas of the law especially Civil Procedure and Practice, Criminal Procedure and Practice and Public Law in East Africa (Constitutional and Administrative Law). Earlier, Ssekaana worked with Nyanzi Kiboneka and Mbabazi Advocates one of the leading law firms in Uganda, which is also engaged in doing consultancy work for over two years, where he rose from the level of a Legal Assistant to Legal Associate. He was responsible for drafting most legal documents for solicitor work as well as pleading (court documents) and represented clients in different courts of law including the Supreme Court.