On Tuesday, High Court judge Musa Sekana dismissed an application in which Lawyer Male Mabirizi and Erias Lukwago wanted him to step aside in the matter which they filed against the Electoral Commission, his former employer.
“The applicants have not persuaded this court why I should recuse myself,” the judge ruled.
“I find no merit in the application for my recusal. I will and do hereby dismiss the application for recusal. I shall proceed to determine this matter even if I was transferred to High Court of Uganda at Mbarara as Senior Resident Judge.”
Sekana defended his decision, saying his work is guided by the Judicial oath of administering justice without fear or favour; and that such accusations can’t turn him into a bad judge.
He pointed out that his former job has nothing to do with his current one, adding that even after leaving the Electoral Commission, he filed a case against them which he won.
He also noted that while carrying out his judicial role he has handled many Electoral petitions where they have lost some but none has ever asked him to step aside on accusations of bias.
“I can draw an example of my fellow judges and justices who had been employed by Office of Directorate of Public Prosecution or Attorney General’s chambers or have held other positions in Government as Ministers or Public Servants. Should they recuse themselves since they were in employment of different government departments?”
Sekana added that the Supreme Court already made a pronouncement on this matter where it ruled that litigants have no right to choose which judicial officer should hear their case.
“Other litigants, like present applicants are trying to bring politics in court and invite the press in order to make some political capital out of a case as we are nearing national elections. This court shall keep in its lane of administering justice to all manner of people.”
The applicants made an application asking Justice Sekana to step aside from hearing the case on grounds that he could be biased and not deliver justice to them.
The applicants told court after the ruling that they will be appealing the decision to ensure that they get justice.
In the main case, Lawyer Male Mabirizi and 12 members of the pressure group People’s Government led by the Lord mayor Elias Lukwago challenge the appointment of Justice Byabakama of as the Electoral Commission Chairman before resigning at the Court of Appeal.