Lawyer Male Mabirizi has run to the East African Court of Justice to challenge the appointment of Justice Christopher Gashirabake, the former Deputy Solicitor General, to the Court of Appeal.
Gashirabake was in August elevated by President Museveni to the Court of Appeal and was consequently approved by parliament.
However, in his petition before the regional court, Mabirizi says the August 13 appointment and subsequent approval, swearing in and assumption of office by Justice Gashirabake while there is still ap ending sexual harassment complaint against him before the Industrial Court is illegal.
“Prior to the appointment of Gashirabake Christopher as Justice of Uganda Court of Appeal and his subsequent purported Parliamentary approval, swearing in and assumption of office, there was a pending sexual harassment complaint against him vide Industrial Court of Uganda Labour Dispute Reference 353 of 2019,” Mabirizi says.
“Since the office of a Justice of Appeal requires high levels of discipline and integrity, it was illegal to appoint a person with pending cases of sexual harassment against him.”
Mabirizi wants the East African Court of Justice to grant orders annulling the Gashirabake’s appointment since it is unlawful and infringes on the fundamental and operations principles of the East African Community.
In 2019, senior state attorney, Samantha Mwesigye who was fired after raising sexual harassment claims against her supervisor at the Justice ministry, Christopher Gashirabake has petitioned the Industrial Court, seeking redress.
Mwesigye sought to be reinstated to her job but also be awarded damages.
However, in the same year, a committee constituted to investigate the claims said it was not convinced that Mwesigye had no avenues to report the alleged harassment for a decade.
“It is the observation of the committee that the complainant had all avenues to report sexual harassment but chose not to do so.
For example from the year 2007, the office of the Solicitor General has been held by five different solicitor generals, two of whom were female. They were senior to and supervised the respondent. This was in addition to other ladies who held positions as directors and were senior or at the same level of seniority with the respondent, ” the committee said in a July 31, 2019 report.