Fallen Court of Appeal Judge Kenneth Kakuru was a man of his word and integrity was at the core of his word.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru, 65, died on Tuesday at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya where he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru has been hailed for speaking the truth despite the discomfort it could cause to those that did not agree with him.
The assertion dominated the eulogies at the funeral service ceremony for Justice Kenneth Kakuru at All Saints Cathedral, Nakesero, Kampala led by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda,
Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu said the Church has been so proud of him as a son of the clergy.
He said while most times children of the clergy decide to take different ways, Justice Keneth Kakuru decided to follow it until his death.
He said Justice Kenneth Kakuru served well with integrity and that the late was a man of his word.
Justice Kakuru was a member of the choir of the Anglican Friends at All Saints Church Nakasero.
“He was singing here. So I want to thank God that he didn’t forget. And he contributed a lot to the beginning of the Fathers’ Union of All Saints Cathedral.
According to Dr. Kazimba, Justice Kenneth Kakuru was a chancellor or legal advisor of the Ankole Diocese. Kakuru also served as a member of the Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda. The Assembly is the law-making body of the Church.
Dr. Kazimba remembers that the late Justice Kenneth Kakuru contributed to Article 13 of the Church’s Constitution which provided that a Bishop retires after serving for a period of 15 years upon attaining the age of 65 years or whatever comes first.
This revelation sparked off prolonged laughter among the mourners in Church. As Dr. Kazimba went on to assert that Kenneth Kakuru was so keen on things about retirement.
While Kenneth Kakuru managed to convince Bishops to retire at age of 65 or after serving for 15 years, he lost the suggestion that sought to provide that no person should be appointed a Bishop of the Church of Uganda until he was fifty years old.
“So this man I remember him. Things to do with retirement he was always there. And I think MPs remember him. Those that wanted extra years remember him,”said Kazimba
Dr. Kazimba Mugalu is of the view that Kenneth Kakuru brought sanity to the Church by prescribing when a Bishop should retire from office.
“No conflict. I know when I’m retiring. We are going to be in Rukungiri and I will be handing over a Pastoral staff to Bishop Elect Onesmus Asiimwe. And I know when he will retire.”He said.
The mass was attended by Chief Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny- Dollo, Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, and Principle Judge Flavian Zeijja.
Other Judges included Mike Chibita, Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Lillian Tibatemwa Ikirikubinza, Faith Mwonda, Irene Mulyagongya, Retired Justice Remmy Kasule, senior members of the Judiciary, Ministers Kahinda Otafiire and Hanifa Kawoya; among others.
Justice Kakuru will be remembered as the only judge whose ruling opposed the amendment of the Uganda Constitution to remove the 75-age limit for a person seeking to run for the office of the President of Uganda.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru in 2021 stunned many when he wrote to President Museveni seeking to retire before he clocked the mandatory retirement age for judges.
While his retirement was not granted, there were speculations that there was cold blood between him and his boss Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo.
The Chief Justice however agrees that Kenneth Kakuru was very assertive as a judge and that he made his points in a strong way.
“Some of us speak without being assertive but for him, he made his points in a very strong way,”said Owiny-Dollo.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru was not a Corruptible Man, Owiny-Dollo told the mourners in the church.
He said he appointed him to be in charge of organizing the registry and cause listing.
“You know some lawyers come to registries. And they seek to shop for judges who should be on the panel. I said Kenneth sit on this and send me your draft. I don’t think a single lawyer could go to Kenneth and say I don’t want justice Buteera, I want to go to Justice Kabiito. I mean it was unthinkable that anybody could go to him”
If there is anybody who knows Kenneth Kakuru, it is his elder sister Mary Maria Baryanjwa.
She told mourners that the late Kenneth Kakuru ticked all the boxes to perfection right from his childhood.
“Because he did all the right things and it could be a challenge to us,”She said.
Baryanjwa said the late on being appointed judge made it clear to his family not to interfere with his work.
She said she was once approached by a person whom she did not name who had suggested giving her a bribe to pass on to Justice Kenneth Kakuru but she could not touch it knowing that her brother wouldn’t take it either.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Major General Kahinda Otafire spoke in his capacity as the brother-in-law to the late Kenneth Kakuru.
He said Kakuru was a unique person who served as a judge without fear or favor.
“It didn’t matter who you are, where you came from, I’m sure if there is somebody spiritual that came to him, he would tell him exactly what he told everybody. And there are very few of those judges on our bench”said Otafiire.
For the first time, Otafiire spilled the beans about the fact that someone at the Judiciary had omitted Kenneth Kakuru’s name from the list of judges that had been recommended for appointment by President Museveni.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru has left behind a widow with toddler twins. Four daughters and grandchildren some of who were born a month before he died.