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Justice James Ogoola set to Retire

The Ugandan Constitution stipulates a four-year term contract which is subject to a one time renewal. However, Ogoola, who was first sworn in as the Chairman of the Commission in February 2012 is not eligible for a reappointment after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Justice James Ogoola, Chairman Judicial Service Commission
Justice James Ogoola is set for retirement upon the expiry of his contract as Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on February 2, this year. 

The Judicial Service Commission is the government body mandated to recruit and discipline Judicial Officers.

The Ugandan Constitution stipulates a four-year term contract which is subject to a one time renewal. However, Ogoola, who was first sworn in as the Chairman of the Commission in February 2012 is not eligible for a reappointment after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The development is confirmed by a highly placed source at the Commission who preferred anonymity. 

Justice Ogoola could not personally comment about the retirement plan saying he was engaged in a meeting at press time.

Several other members of the Commission will retire at the same time after serving the mandatory two terms.  They include Justice Esther Kisakye, the Commission\'s Deputy Chairperson, Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, Charles Okoth Owol, Laban Kirya and Mr Henry Kyemba.

Justice Jotham Tumwesigye, who recently replaced Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, Commissioner Grace Oburu and the Attorney General Fredrick Ruhindi, an ex-officio are the only members with standing contracts on the nine-man Commission.

This implies that if the appointing authority (the President) does not hastily appoint new members; the highly sensitive Commission will not be able to recruit more Judicial Officers. Similarly, disciplinary cases against Judges and Magistrates will not be handled. 

The Justice Ogoola-led commission came into office in 2012 following the expiry of the term of office of the old commission led by Justice Seth Manyindo in November 2010.

The Commission had an uphill task of clearing a backlog of about 400 disciplinary cases involving Judicial Officers. 

The biggest challenge that the Ogoola-led commission faced was the protracted recruitment of a substantive Chief Justice to replace retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki.

The recruitment process was partly hampered by President Museveni who had initially opted to have retired Chief Justice Odoki reappointed despite clocking the retirement age of 70 years.

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