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Gov't, Judicial Officers Opt for Mediation Over Bigirimana's Appointment

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Tegule told court that his clients need to file a Supplementary Affidavit and asked for a month to settle their issues with Bigirimana through mediation. Karemera didn’t object to the application prompting the judge to adjourn the matter to April 8th, 2020 for the parties to update court on the progress of the mediation exercise.
04 Mar 2020 11:44
Some of the members of Uganda Judicial Officers Association at the Tenth Magistrates Conference in Kampala . File Photo
Judicial officers and the Attorney General have resolved to settle their suit challenging the appointment of the judiciary Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana through mediation.  

The Attorney General's Representative, George Karemera and lawyer of judicial officers under their Association of Uganda Judicial Officers Association- UJOA, Gawaya Tegule disclosed the move while appearing before Justice Musa Ssekaana in the High Court Civil Division.

Tegule told court that his clients need to file a Supplementary Affidavit and asked for a month to settle their issues with Bigirimana through mediation. 

Karemera didn’t object to the application prompting the judge to adjourn the matter to April 8th, 2020 for the parties to update court on the progress of the mediation exercise.

Court appointed Justice Benjamin Kabiito as the Chief Mediator between the two parties.

Details of the Case  

In October, 2019, UJOA, which comprises Judges, Registrars and Magistrates from all the courts in the country, filed a civil suit against the Attorney General seeking orders compelling the Judiciary Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana to vacate office on grounds that it isn’t provided for under the Judiciary structures.

In their suit, the applicants argue that the Judiciary isn’t a Government Department or Ministry to have a Permanent Secretary in as far as the Public Service Act and Constitution are concerned since it an independent Arm of Government just like the Executive and Legislature. 

They noted that the appointment of Bigirimana as a PS in the judiciary is illegal, irrational and jeopardises its independence since it is supposed to be a self-accounting arm of Government. Last month, a panel of five Justices of the Constitutional Court led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo ruled that the constitution envisages an independent Judiciary in relation to its administration and financial management thus making it illegal for the Finance Ministry to manage its budget.

Currently, the Judiciary draws its budget from the consolidated Fund through the Finance Ministry yet the constitution mandates the head of the Judiciary to make their budget to the President who will then make his comment without any revision and send it to Parliament.