Margret Sekaggya was one of the lucky Ugandan lawyers tipped for appointment as judge in 1996 but she surprised many when she opted to become the first chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission.
She was the Chairperson Uganda Human Rights Commission from 1996 to 2008 and doesn’t regret having turned down the judicial nomination.
Katurebe, then working as Attorney General and Minister of Constitutional Affairs, knew that Sekaggya had been appointed acting judge by President Museveni.
While many lawyersconsider a judicial appointment as the pinnacle of a legal career, Margaret Sekaggya however opted to take the job at Uganda Human Rights Commission.
She had already taken the decision against the majority view of her family members that she takes on the judicial appointment.
She was no stranger to human rights having participated in the drafting of the 1995 constitution.
The human rights abuses apart, the new Commission had no office premises set aside for it as president, Museveni handed Sekaggya and her team instruments of appointment.
Uganda Human rights Commission would then get its first office at the premises then located near Arua Park in present day, Kampala Central Business district.
She recollects that the major issue to emerge from the courtesy calls was the war in Northern Uganda where the violations were mainly emanating from. The Commission would according to Sekaggya set up the first regional office in Gulu because it knew that it would be difficult to operate from Kampala.
The Commission was also faced with the problem of rampant torture, which prompted them to establish Departments, Complaints desks and the later the human rights tribunal that exists to date.
Major complaints were against LRA, the army, torture by the police and prisons. The Uganda Human Rights Commission had eleven regional offices by 2008 when Sekaggya and most her new members left the Commission.
The Commission would also mediate in the failed Juba peace talks between government and the LRA.