The Uganda Law Society has said last week’s drama as judges clashed over Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine’s election petition painted a bad picture for the judiciary.
There was drama at the Supreme Court when Justice Esther Kisakye accused the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo of confiscating her file before she read her ruling on Kyagulanyi ‘s withdrawn petition challenging President Museveni’s election.
More drama ensued when the public address system and lights were switched off as Justice Kisakye proceeded to address the press after the other members of the panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court refused to return as had been agreed.
Kisakye said the Chief Justice had wanted to gag her from reading her dissenting ruling by ordering the confiscation of her file.
“The Chief Justice’s order to read my ruling at a later date is unconstitutional and that’s why I disobeyed it,” said Justice Kisakye.
However, in a statement released on Sunday, Uganda Law Society president, Pheona Nabasa Wall said such a scene could have been avoided by both sides.
“Uganda Law Society as an institution mandated amongst others to advise government and the public on matters of law, good governance and the administration of justice in the country is deeply disturbed by the public show of disharmony which has caused and continues to cause disrepute and ridicule the highest appellate court in the land,” Wall said.
The ULS president noted that the judiciary as the third arm of government and centre of arbitration with the Supreme Court the highest appellate court, a high level of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality are expected at the court.
“The judicial code of conduct requires all judicial officers to at all times and in every aspect be of upright character and ensure that their conduct is above reproach in the view of a reasonable fair-minded and informed person.”
The lawyers’ body urged that justices should always foster consensus and where there isn’t, dissenting opinions should be accommodated and treated respectfully.
The Uganda Law Society however said they have appointed a team of Senior Counsel to engage with the members of the Supreme Court towards resolving the matter amicably.