By Our Reporters
Rtd Supreme Court Justice GW Kanyeihamba has disputed the manner in which Chief Justice Bart Katurebe and 6 other Justices determined the age limit appeal that was brought before them regarding the Togikwatako vote. Speaking on 88.8 CBS fm’ very popular “Nze nga bwendaba” interview segment, a tearful Prof Kanyeihamba said whereas the Constitution imposes a duty on Court to decide cases fairly, he was increasingly becoming very saddened that the Supreme Court Justices have lately specialized on dismissing matters brought before them by citizens.
He says there are many well-articulated independent judgments by judiciary icons like Justice Mulenga, Justice Twinomujuni, Justice Constance Byamugisha, Justice Tsekoko and Justice Egonda Entende from which today’s Justices should be deriving inspiration to deliver judgments that defend the Constitution. “I’m very embarrassed and saddened that majority of them don’t seem interested in deriving inspiration from such iconic judgments. All they do is politics and I’m a lawyer myself but that’s what I see each time they deliver a major decision,” says Kanyeihamba who had significant influence on the making of the 1995 Constitution which he says Chief Justice Bart Katurebe has betrayed along with majority of his colleagues on the bench.
“It’s only the three that decided according to the Constitution and these are Lady Justice Tibatemwa and Justice Mugamba. The rest I don’t understand what they were reading. When I was in that court, we decided with Justice Wambuzi and Justice Tsekoko to always defend the Constitution and that’s what we did. We set a very high standard to guide and embolden future judges but they don’t seem to aspire to live up to that high standard.” Kanyeihamba said that as one who significantly influenced the making of the 1995 Constitution, he feels betrayed and let down by the indifference with which Katurebe has gone about Supreme Court’s duty to enforce Constitutionalism in Uganda.
“I think they should resign from those positions because they have clearly showed they don’t understand what they are doing and don’t understand the duty that comes with occupying those positions,” he said in a broken voice struggling to hold back tears. “They all seemed unanimous that the MPs carried out consultations but that’s not the issue. They should have interrogated and pronounced themselves on what the voters said during those consultations. Is it not true that they said Togikwatako? How come all the Justices were quiet on that issue? You can send me to Mpigi to collect your pumpkin. What is important in the end is not whether I went to Mpigi. Did I bring the pumpkin? That is what matters but all of them were uncomfortable discussing that.”
Asked what Ugandans should do in the face of the betrayal he talks about, Kanyeihamba said: “It’s now clear it’s a waste of time seeking remedy in such courts. People and their leaders have been active going to court but on all occasions, the judges of Uganda have let them down. Since 2001 each time important matters have been brought before them, they have only chased the people away. That should indicate to the people that this court is determined never to help them. They are bent on rubber stamping and fortifying executive and legislative decisions. But gratefully Article 1 of the Constitution says power belongs to the people and it’s to them that aggrieved leaders should go from 2021 onwards. Coming to such courts will clearly be a waste of time,” the emotionally broken controversial Professor said in his struggling Luganda.
“It’s not that they are dense and don’t know what to do. Justice Stella Arach was a very good judge just like many others. The Chief Justice Bart Katurebe has a very good brain with first class judgments but when it comes to cases where NRM and President Museveni have interest, all their brain evaporates and goes to sleep. They will never rule in favor of the people or the Constitution. It’s about pleasing the executive and Parliament and rubber stamping their decisions. We have had 6 major constitutional petitions and they have dismissed all of them in order not to annoy the executive and parliament.”
Clearly sounding very angry, Kanyeihamba added: “They are behaving like they were just put there to earn a commission by always defending executive and legislature decisions to get paid. That’s all I see and nothing more. I’m at a loss. I don’t have peace anymore. I’m betrayed. We made this constitution and always used that court with Justice Wambuzi and Tsekoko to defend that Constitution. Cadre judges yes and that’s what they have proved today. Let’s ask ourselves which court have we become? Every time people bring matters before us, we just dismiss as if we don’t know people have a right to come to us. I think in future, aggrieved political leaders should go to the people and not those courts anymore.”
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