Retired Supreme court justice, John Wilson Nattubu Tsekooko has passed on Monday evening, the Judiciary has announced.
Tsekooko according to a statement from Judiciary passed at Norvik hospital in Kampala, where he had been admitted for a number of weeks.
“The funeral arrangements shall be communicated later May His Soul Rest In Peace,” a statement from Judiciary reads.
Tsekooko was one of the judges particularly remembered for twice ruling against President Yoweri Museveni in 2001 and 2006 presidential election petitions filed by Dr.Kizza Besigye.
In an interview with Daily Monitor in May 2016, Tsekooko said that he does not regret the decision to annul President Museveni’s victories twice.
In another interview with the Observer in June 2018, Tsekooko said of his decision to uphold his ruling that he was ‘too independent to be influenced by President Museveni”.
“When one is appointed a judge, he/she takes an oath and is supposed to live by that oath to uphold the truth. It is those judges who just want to get money and benefits who can make decisions according to the whims of the time or fear, but for me when I was judge, I would make decisions regardless of the consequences.”
Notwithstanding the rulings, Museveni reappointed Tsekooko to the supreme court until his retirement.
Tsekooko also represented Obote against Museveni in 1980 after Museveni sued the UPC presidential flag bearer for making defamatory statements against him while campaigning in Ankole. The case, however never took off because Obote became president thereafter and thus immune to a court suit.
Tsekooko was never in Museveni’s god books, but Museveni always appointed him back to the bench.
In a 2016 interview with the Daily Monitor, Tsekooko said the number of cadre judges making it to the bench is rising, a thing he said is undermining the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
“Yes, that thing [cadre judges] is there. It seems to be increasing because occasionally you get some of the judgments and you can’t understand they are from judges who are supposed to be independent. There are rumours some judges consult some politicians when they have cases with political implications to get a shape of the ruling. This is terrible! It is not proper,” Justice Tsekooko told Daily Monitor.
By “cadre judges” he meant judges whose case judgments suggest they are determined more by their allegiance to the government than on the evidence produced before courts during the trial.