By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: Human rights lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde has petitioned the Judicial service commission and demanded that the Chief Justice, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo step aside over the alleged tribalistic comments about Baganda and their Kabaka last month during late Jacob Oulanya’s vigil.
While speaking at the late Jacob Oulanyah’s vigil on March 23, CJ Owiny-Dollo sought to find out why the people who asked Oulanyah “to go back home” when he was hospitalized in Seattle, USA didn’t complain when the Kabaka traveled to Germany for treatment ‘aboard a presidential jet’.
“…your ethnic leader, you-you who were demonstrating was transported in a presidential jet to Germany, using public funds. He was not entitled. You didn’t demonstrate. Is it because Oulanyah is an Acholi?” the CJ said during Oulanyah’s vigil and later apologized to the Kabaka.
Now Ssemakadde, who is the chief executive officer of Legal Brains Trust in his letter to the Secretary, Judicial Service Commission said that the Chief Justice has “reportedly offered an apology to the Kabaka of Buganda and atoned for the personal injury caused to the Kabaka, his lordship has remained belligerent to the other subjects of his vitriol”.
“We further request that, in the meantime, the Chief Justice be directed and/or prevailed upon to step aside, in the interest of protecting the Judicial Branch from further opprobrium during the sought-after investigation,” he said in his letter to the Judiciary.
He said this situation presents legitimate cause for the removal of the impugned judicial officer in terms of Articles 144(2)(b) and 144(4) of the Constitution.
According to Ssemakadde, the institution should investigate the conduct of the impugned judicial officer, and take appropriate action to preserve and protect the integrity not only of the office of Chief Justice but also the Judiciary as a whole.
Ssemakadde’s move has been backed by Herman Kibalama, a Ugandan living in Sweden saying such tribalistic utterances by the head of the Judiciary who took the oath of office to serve all Ugandans equally regardless of their gender and ethnicity cannot be taken lightly.
“The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo came to apologize only when the kingdom came out to clear the rumors but he insisted and maintained that Buganda kingdom was harboring some bad subjects. This apology further confirmed his allegations and compromised the head of the judiciary to merely apologize and remain in force,” Kibalama said.
Kibalama said the apology didn’t take away the seeds of discord and tribalism which are now more motivated and forever saddled the Uganda judiciary in disrepute.
Under the judicial service standards, a judicial officer who commits such indiscipline will not go unpunished as the commission deems appropriate and automatic dismissal would follow.