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Lawyer Ssemakadde petitions judicial body over Owiny-Dollo’s remarks

A section of Ugandans have asked the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) to investigate and take serious action against the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo over his recent tribalistic remarks, saying that his apology to Buganda and the nation at large didn’t take away the seeds of discord and tribalism.

At the vigil of the former Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, Owiny-Dollo, denigrated Buganda when he said the “leader of an ethnic group” had been flown to Germany for treatment aboard the presidential jet.

The claims, which remained unsubstantiated, sparked a deluge of criticism against the head of Judiciary, with some commentators, among them Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze, asking him to resign.

This later forced the Chief Justice to unequivocally and unreservedly” apologised to the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi and the nation at large.

Isaac Ssemakadde, lawyer and the chief executive officer Legal Brains Trust in his letter to the Secretary, Judicial Service Commission said whereas 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.

Accordingly, he requested the institution to 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.

Herman Kibalama, a Ugandan living in Sweden told the Nile Post that in Uganda, a country which claims to observe the rule of law, such tribalistic utterances by the head of Judiciary who took 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 apologise only when the kingdom came out to clear the rumors but he insisted and maintained that Buganda kingdom was harbouring some bad subjects. This apology further confirmed his allegations and compromised the head of judiciary to merely apologize and remain in force,” he 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.

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