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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Uganda’s watchdog body for Judges and other Judicial officers has convicted controversial Supreme Court Judge, Justice Esther Kisaakye of improper misconduct unbecoming of a Judge, recommending to the President, her appointing authority, her removal from the top Court.
In a report seen by The Legal Reports, the Justice Benjamin Kabiito-led Commission says there are probable grounds that the Lady Justice desecrated the Judicial Service through utterances she made against her boss, the Chief Justice of Uganda and Head of the Supreme Court, Justice Owiny-Dollo in which she referred to him as “barbaric”.
The Judicial Service Commission further accuses Justice Esther Kisaakye of insubordination when she disobeyed instructions of the Chief Justice to share her dissenting Judgement in the Presidential election Petition of Opposition Politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine against President Yoweri Museveni – ostensibly contrary to the “long standing practice of sharing rulings and Judgements in collegiate Courts.”
Justice Esther Kisaakye grabbed headlines in 2021 during the case challenging Uganda’s general election (Presidential petition) when, accusing the Chief Justice of confiscating her dissenting Judgement, she nonetheless delivered the Judgement alone in a poorly lit (if at all) makeshift Court.
This spectacle which made the embattled Lady Justice appear on the side of the political opposition and the Chief Justice as well as the other members of the Supreme Court bench appear on the side of the ruling government having dismissed that case, played into the hands of the Opposition propaganda machinery that had imputed bias on the Court.
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The JSC says this conduct of delivering a Judgement as a single Justice in an otherwise empaneled case could have violated the Uganda Code of Judicial Conduct which requires Judges to exhibit and promote high standards of judicial and personal integrity.
Remember that, this year the Lady Justice was further propelled into the orbit of media controversy when she launched a Suit against the Chief Justice and almost the entire C- Suite of the Judiciary.
And just a few days ago, it was reported; including by the The Legal Reports; that Justice Esther Kisaakye had stormed out of a meeting held by the Judicial Service Commission ostensibly to understand her fallout with the Chief Justice and the Judiciary.
Now, the Judicial Service Commission has called on President Yoweri Museveni to appoint a tribunal in line with Article 144 of the Constitution of Uganda to determine the removal of Justice Esther Kisaakye from the Supreme Court bench on grounds of misconduct.
Such a tribunal would be composed of three people who are or have been Judges of the Supreme Court or Court with similar authority or who are Advocates (lawyers) of at least 15 years’ experience.
In the meantime as we await the appointment of this tribunal into Justice Esther Kisaakye’s removal, please note the Constitution at this stage mandates the President to suspend the Judge from office – on condition that she is reinstated if the tribunal does not agree with the Judicial Service Commission as to her removal.
Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.
Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.