April 21, 2021

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JUDGES CANT HOLD TWO OFFICES-CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES

JUDGES CANT HOLD TWO OFFICES-CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES

 

The late Bob Kasango has won a petition he filed at the Constitutional Court challenging the appointment of Justice Mike Chibita as the Director of Public Prosecutions without resigning his job as a judge.

In 2016, Kasango dragged the DPP and the Attorney General to the Constitutional Court arguing that it was illegal, unconstitutional and causes a fusion between the executive and judiciary on top of undermining the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution for judges to be appointed to other government positions without first resigning as judges.

In the lead judgment by Justice Kenneth Kakuru, on behalf of a panel of other justices including Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Cheborion Barishaki, Stephen Musota and Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, the Constitutional Court ruled that it is illegal for a judge to be appointed to any executive or constitutional office and that assuming the position without first resigning as judges is illegal.

“I would like to observe that judges and justices are still being assigned and or appointed to various executive and constitutional offices. The relevant authorities, especially the Judicial Service Commission must ensure that before a judge or justice takes up another appointment, he or she first resigns,” Justice Kakuru ruled.

“Judicial officers as custodians of justice must comply with this constitutional requirement. They must not be seen to be contravening the very constitution they took oath to uphold while requiring others to uphold it. Consequently, any appointment of a judicial officer to any executive or constitutional office prior to his or her resignation from the judiciary shall be null and void and his or her actions will be null and void.”

The judgment means that Justice Jane Frances Abodo, the current Director of Public Prosecutions and the Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama ought to resign as judges of the High Court so as to continue serving in their current respective positions in which they were appointed by President Museveni.

However, the judges of the Constitutional Court ruled that the investigations, arrest and prosecution of the deceased lawyer, Bob Kasango while Justice Mike Chibita held the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions didn’t contravene any provisions of the Constitution.

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