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Stop Intimidating the Judiciary – Wako Wambuzi

In his keynote address at the inaugural Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture, Justice Wambuzi pointed out several incidences through which the mandate of the judiciary has been abused by politicians and government institutions over the years.
21 Sep 2018 19:59
Former Chief Justice Wako Wambuzi Delivering a Key Note Speech in Kampala

Audio 3

Former Chief Justice Sam Wako Wambuzi has cautioned the government against intimidating judges and disrespecting the judiciary.

In his keynote address at the inaugural Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture, Justice Wambuzi pointed out several incidences through which the mandate of the judiciary has been abused by politicians and government institutions over the years.

He made reference to statements made by the head of state after a constitutional court judgment that nullified the referendum Act, 2000 describing them as disrespectful and demeaning. In the aftermath of the judgment, President Yoweri Museveni was quoted saying that ‘the major work for the Judges is to settle chicken and goat theft cases but not determining the country's destiny'.

Justice Wambuzi points out that the statement was a threat to the independence of the Judiciary. He added that the defiance of court orders by government officials is a clear signal that the independence of the judiciary is under threat.

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Wambuzi also pointed out another ugly incident in November 2005, when a Paramilitary group, later known as black mamba prohibited the release of alleged rebel suspects that had been granted bail by Justice Edmund Ssempa Lugayizi.

He also cited a scenario in 2016, when a mob had been organized to prevent a private prosecution against the former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura who was being prosecuted under the anti-Torture Act and noted that such acts dis-empower the judiciary.

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Meanwhile, President Museveni has reemphasized that while suspects have rights to be granted bail, measures should be put in place to protect victims from criminals. In a Speech read for him by Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Museveni reiterated a need for dialogue between the judges, advocates, and all freedom fighters. 

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