The Judiciary has spoken out on the incidents that transpired on Thursday last week, involving Dr. Esther Mayambala Kisaakye against the other members of the bench.
In a press release, it was stated that the learned judge had intimated to the other justices before the ruling that her judgment was in both typed form and handwritten.
As such, the Chief Justice allowed Justices Rubby Aweri-Opio, Paul Mugamba and Ezequiel Muhanguzi to give their judgments on why the application to withdraw the petition should be allowed.
However, during the break ordered by the Chief Justice, Dr. Kisaakye refused to circulate her judgment to her fellow justices, which prompted them to tell her that they would not go back to court until they had read it. As per the press release, she thereafter stormed out of the board room.
Dr. Kisaakye then proceeded to the court, unbeknownst to the other judges, who expected her ruling to be given on another date next week.
The Judiciary has stated that the practice of sharing judgments is in the “spirit of collegiality” but asserts that the misunderstanding will be resolved.
The events which took place at the Supreme Court on Thursday saw Dr. Esther Mayambala Kisaakye claim that the Chief Justice had taken away her file on the dissenting judgment she was supposed to give on Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi’s case against the President in the Presidential Election Petition Number 1 of 2021.
However, after watching the Attorney General and the team of lawyers representing the respondent, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibahaburwa, walk out of the court room, she proceeded to go get a draft of her ruling from the chambers.
Her ruling stated, in part, that the bench erred in holding that the petitioner had not been inconvenienced by the house arrest and blocking of internet and other communications before the filing of the petition.
The petitioner, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, in a statement of his own, stated that the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo should resign and saluted Dr. Esther Mayambala Kisaakye for “living up to the oath she took to protect our Constitution”.
Dr. Kisaakye herself has stated that the statement is meant to malign her name and that the spokesperson who made it did not have the facts.
The drama in the Supreme Court is not one without precedent though.
A year ago, Justice Esther Kisaakye sued retired Supreme Court Justice George W. Kanyeihamba for defamation over claims he made in his book, “In the Name of God, Truth and Justice.”
Justice Kanyeihamba had claimed that Justice Kisaakye was defiant to then Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe by not circulating her judgments , in addition to questioning her academic qualifications.
For her part, however, Justice Kisaakye has stated that there is no provision of law that mandates her to circulate her judgments with her fellow judges.
With the dust raised in the temples of justice, it remains to be seen whether the matter will be resolved amicably, as stated in the Judiciary’s statement.
Otherwise, if the dust doesn’t settle, the country is at risk of having a damning precedent that may choke the Judiciary.