In the spotlight. As the pre-hearing conference of the presidential petition No. 1 of 2016 kick-starts this morning, Anthony Wesaka profiles the nine justices set to preside over this high profile petition
He was elevated to the Supreme Court Bench in September last year from the Court of Appeal/ Constitutional Court. He previously worked as High Court judge and head of the Civil Division.
Justice Mwangusya started as a state attorney at the Ministry of Justice in 1976 and rose through the ranks to become principal state attorney. In 1997, he joined private practice only to be called to the bench the following year.
He started as resident judge of Fort Portal and Masaka circuits. Thereafter, he became the deputy head of the International Crimes Division of the High Court. It is from here that he was promoted to head the Civil Division of the High Court.
Justice Mwangusya’s major interests of law lie in criminal trials and land matters. He has given legal advice to different parastatals such the Commission of Inquiry into Escape of Prisoners from Murchison Bay Prison and the Commission of Inquiry into Uganda Posts and Telecommunications. He was also a member of the Non-Government Organisations Board, a government arm that regulates NGOs.
Justice Tumwesigye graduated from Makerere University Law School in 1974. He then worked as a state attorney in the Justice ministry for about five years. He was part of a team that drafted the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.
He served as the Inspector General of Government (IGG) in early 2000s before he was appointed to the highest court in the land in 2009.
Despite playing the current role of Supreme Court judge, Justice Tumwesigye also heads the Judicial Integrity Committee which monitors the integrity of judicial officers.
Currently, besides being a justice of the Supreme Court, he is a member of the Judicial Service Commission, a position he recently took over from Justice Katureebe.
He also previously served as chairman of the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration. However, his appointment to the position was strongly opposed by FDC presidential candidate Kizza Besigye, who accused the judge of being a cadre of President Museveni.
Justice Kisaakye joined the Supreme Court in 2009. Prior to her appointment, she was a lecturer at Makerere University.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University and a Master of Arts Degree in Women’s Rights from Georgetown University Law Centre, USA. She also holds a PhD from the United States of America.
Justice Kisaakye has also been a member of the Judicial Service Commission, a government body that recruits and disciplines errant judicial officers.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe
Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe was born on June 20, 1950, to Yowana Magunda and Evirginia Engoni in Rugazi village, then in Bushenyi now in Rubirizi District.
The 65-year-old began his primary education at Rugazi Primary School in 1957 until 1962. He then went to St Joseph Junior Secondary School in Mbarara for his Junior One and Junior Two.
Justice Katureebe then joined Kitunga High School in Ntungamo District for his Ordinary Level from 1965-1968. He went to Namilyango College for his Advanced Level education, from where he completed in 1970.
Thereafter, he joined Makerere University where he pursued a Bachelor of Laws and graduated in 1974. A year later, he graduated with a Post-graduate Diploma in Legal practice from the Law Development Centre.
He immediately joined the Justice ministry as a state attorney. In 1983, he left government service and joined private practice.
Five years later, he was appointed Deputy Minister for Regional Corporation, a docket he held for a short while before being appointed Deputy Minister for Industry and Technology.
Between 1991 and 1992, Justice Katureebe was appointed Health minister and at the same time, he was a member of the National Resistance Council.
He was a Constituent Assembly Delegate representing Bunyaruguru County between 1994 and 1995.
In 1996, he took on the docket of Justice minister and at the same time, he was the Attorney General until 2001.
During his tenure as the Attorney General, Justice Katureebe represented Uganda at the International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague in a case where Uganda was accused of plundering the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He rejoined private practice shortly after 2001 and worked with Kampala Associated Advocates, a prominent law firm in the city.
It was from there that President Museveni appointed him Supreme Court judge in July 2005.
Justice Katureebe previously also worked as a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Other responsibilities he held include board chairman for state-owned newspaper, The New Vision, Director of Standard Chartered Bank and also Director National Insurance Company.
His hobbies include playing golf and farming.
He was appointed Chief Justice on March 5 last year, replacing Justice Benjamin Odoki who had clocked the retirement age of 70.
Prior to his appointment, President Museveni, who is the appointing authority, had rejected his nomination by the Judicial Service Commission in preference to Justice Odoki to bounce back, a move he said was to due to the maximise limited man power.
Justice Stella Arach-Amoko
Justice Arach-Amoko is a career judicial officer who was appointed to the highest court in the land about two years ago. Prior, she was a justice of the Court of Appeal and a judge of the High Court.
In 2006, Justice Arach-Amoko was appointed judge of the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania, from where she was elevated to the position of Deputy Principal Judge.
Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza
Before her elevation to the Supreme Court late last year, Justice Tibatemwa had been serving at the Court of Appeal from 2013.
Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeal, she was Makerere University Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Justice Tibatemwa is also the first female in Uganda to be awarded a PhD in Law, thereby becoming the first female to be an associate professor and full professor of law in East Africa.
She is especially interested in the area of women rights to education and has been recognised by the Forum for African Women Educationalists, a pan-African non-governmental organisation. She has also been at the heart of research on quality assurance in institutions of higher learning in the country.
Justice Tibatemwa is married to Paul Ekirikubinza, a civil engineer, and they have three sons. She holds a Master in Commercial Law from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University and a post graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre.
Tibatemwa is also an author with three publications; Women’s Violent Crime in Uganda, More Sinned Against than Sinning (1999), Offences Against the Person: Homicides and Non-fatal Assaults in Uganda, and Criminal Law in Uganda; Sexual Assaults and Offences Against Morality.
She was also the lead judge when the Constitutional Court ruled that Justice Benjamin Odoki was not eligible to return as Chief Justice given that he had clocked the mandatory age of 70. Justice Tibatemwa, in a 4-1 majority decision of the court, ruled that there is no single provision in the Constitution that provides for the re-appointment of a retired Chief Justice.
Justice Nshimye started his career as a senior clerk in 1967. In 1986, he was appointed deputy chief registrar, a post he held for two years before joining private practice. In 2008, he was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal. In 2010, he served as acting Justice of the Supreme Court.
He was elevated to the Supreme Court Bench in September last year from the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court where he had served since his appointment in 2008.
Justice Nshimye, who has previously served as legislator and minister, is also one of the founding members of the ruling National Resistance Movement.
Justice Nshimye is the vice chairperson, Judicial Integrity Committee and also a member of the Judicial Performance Enhancement Committee. Previously, he served as vice chairperson Judicial Training Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University, a Diploma in Project Planning and Management, among other qualifications.
He is currently the Inspector of Courts of Judicature, an arm of the Judiciary that monitors and enforces ethics of judicial officers.
Rubby Opio Aweri
Born in 1953, Justice Opio’s career began in Soroti District where he was a legal assistant in 1982.
The following year, he joined the Judiciary as Grade One magistrate and rose through the ranks to become judge of the High Court in 1998.
It was until about two years ago that he became Justice of the Court of Appeal and was elevated to the Supreme Court in September last year. He is married and has a Master of Laws from Makerere University. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Law Development Centre and Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University.
Justice Opio has undertaken various trainings, including democracy and good governance in Denmark and negotiation and mediation skills in London. He has special interests in environmental, civil and economic justice.
Justice Faith Mwondha
Born on March 16, 1954, Justice Mwondha was appointed Inspector General of Government (IGG) in 2005. Before that, she had served as a judge at the High Court and a commissioner at the Uganda Human Rights Commission. Since 2013, she has been serving at the Court of Appeal.
The former IGG is commended for ensuring that a number of powerful personalities appeared in court on corruption charges. The case in point is the three former ministers of Health who were implicated in the GAVI scandal.
Justice Mwondha’s bravado and no-nonsense character towards the corrupt saw her lock horns with a number of politicians whom she investigated and prosecuted. This earned her the name “iron lady” in the media. It is her zeal and passion as a government ombudsman that made her office feared by many politicians and public servants, making her personality stand out in the public spheres as a graft fighter.
However, Justice Mwondha’s low moment came after serving out her first term as IGG when she refused to return to Parliament for a second vetting by the law makers.
She was subsequently dropped as IGG and her then deputy, Mr Raphael Baku, acted in her position.
The former NRC member for Butembe County and Jinja Woman Constituent Assembly Delegate was confirmed a chief magistrate in 1990. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University (1974-1977), a Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Law Development Centre) and LLM in Business Law from De Montfort University in Leicester, UK (2006). She is a widow with six children.