The Judicial Service has recommended to President Museveni that Justice Esther Kisaakye should be removed from the Supreme Court.
“The Hon Lady Justice Dr.Kisaakye being a justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda, the commission recommends that the president appoints a tribunal pursuant to Article 144(2)(b), 3 and 4 of the Constitution for the question of the removal of Hon . Lady Dr. Kisaakye from office, to be investigated,” the Judicial Service Commission chairperson, Justice Benjamin Kabiito says in his February 18, 2023 recommendation.
The recommendation contained in an five page report stemmed from investigations by the Judicial Service Commission into the conduct of Lady Justice Kisaakye during the hearing of the 2021 election petition by the Supreme Court in which National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi challenged the election of President Museveni.
There was drama as the Supreme Court after Justice Kisaakye accused the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo of allegedly ordering the confiscation of her dissenting ruling in the matter at the court.
The Supreme Court in its ruling dismissed an application an application in which Kyagulanyi sought to file more evidence in the petition challenging Museveni’s re-election.
However, Justice Kisaakye said her dissenting ruling had been confiscated by the Chief Justice.
In its February report, the Judicial Service Commission says that after social, print and electronic media’s covering of the public fallout between the Chief Justice and Lady Justice Kisaakye, they commenced an inquiry into the incident.
According to the JSC, during their inquiry, they sought to ascertain what had exactly happened leading to the open fallout between the two justices of the Supreme Court.
The commission indicated that in the course of their inquiry, four complaints stemming from the Supreme Court proceedings in the 2021 election petition came up, including one where lawyer Male Mabirizi sought the removal of Chief Justice from office, but also the maverick lawyer seeking the removal of Justice Ruby Opio Aweri and six others justices and registrar of the Supreme Court from office .
According to the commission, in another complaint, Robert Kyagulanyi accused Chief Justice Dollo of bias for having previously been a lawyer for President Museveni and in the fourth complaint, the Chief Justice accused Justice Kisaakye of desecrating the Supreme Court and making disparaging and scathing attacks.
The Judicial Service Commission however indicated that the inquiry found Justice Kisaakye culpable and ought to be punished.
“The commission is of the considered opinion that prima facie case has been established through this inquiry of probable grounds of misbehavior or misconduct on the part of Hon.Lady Justice Dr.Kisaakye,”the Judicial Service Commission said.
They recommended to President Museveni that the lady justice is removed from the Supreme Court.
The recommendation comes on the backdrop of a suit by Justice Kisaakye in which she dragged among other people, the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo to the Constitutional Court over what she termed as witch-hunt by the judiciary.
In her petition, Justice Kisaakye said following the debacle during the 2021 presidential election petition by National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi challenging President Museveni’s election, a number of unconstitutional acts have been committed by the five respondents including the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo, Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana, the commissioner human resources in judiciary Apophia Tumwine and the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Sarah Langa.
According to the judge, the act by the Chief Justice stopping her from delivering her consent ruling in the case, closure of Supreme Court premises to deny her entrance and issuance of the resultant press statement were unlawful .
“The petitioner contends that the acts of the first respondent(Dollo) and the officials of the judiciary issuing a deceitful and defamatory press release about the petitioner and about the events that took place on March, 18, 2021 at the Supreme Court are inconsistent with and in contravention of the constitution,” court documents say.
The Supreme Court judge averred that she was also denied funds for medical treatment by the Chief Justice and the Judiciary Permanent Secretary, but also failed to recognize and follow seniority at the highest court in the land, all actions she says were illegal.
“Unknown to the petitioner, on March, 20,2021 in the absence of a complaint from anyone, the Judicial Service Commission commenced investigations against her disguised as a general inquiry into the events of 18th and 19th March 2021 at the Supreme Court without observing any due process and the set procedures under the Constitution of Uganda.”
She said that during the process of the “secretive inquiry” against her, , the Judicial Service Commission solicited a complaint from the Chief Justice all of which were illegal.