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Museveni Rejects Justice Kisaakye’s Resignation



President Museveni has blocked the resignation of Uganda Supreme Court Judge, Esta Kitimbo Kisaakye. 

Kisaakye, who had served on the Supreme Court bench for 13 years and 10 months wrote to President Museveni on July 19, 2023, informing him of her decision to take early retirement.

“Article 144 (1) of the Constitution of Uganda permits a judicial officer to retire at any time after attaining the age of 60 years. I am now aged 63 years,” Kisakye, who was appointed Supreme Court judge on October 12, 2009, wrote to Museveni. 

Kisaakye’s resignation came five months after the Judicial Service Commission recommended her removal from office over alleged misconduct and verbal attack against Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo over the 2021 presidential election petition. 

However, in a written response, President Museveni told Kisaakye that while he could not “obstruct your wishes”, the embattled judge’s decision to quit “will pre-empt the work of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry or the Tribunal.”

Museveni emphasised: “Apparently, you made some strong statements against the Chief Justice. Either those statements were right or were wrong. It is the Tribunal that can conclude that. It is thereafter that the way forward will be clear for you.”

Sources of trouble 

Kisaakye has been in the limelight since 2021 for having accused Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo of confiscating her file. 

This was on March 18 and 19 2021 when Kisakye wanted to read her minority ruling in the election petition that was withdrawn by former Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu who wanted to overturn the victory of the incumbent President Museveni. 

In that case, Kyagulanyi had filed a petition challenging the results of the 2021 presidential election. 

He made a follow-up application seeking leave of the Court to amend his main application. 

The Court refused to grant the sought leave, holding the application had been beyond the strict time limit provided by law within which the petition should be filed. 

But Justice Kisaakye dissented, arguing that Kyagulanyi had been deprived of his right to prepare the main application as he had been placed under illegal house arrest during the window of time he could have been preparing his application.

While delivering her dissenting judgement, Justice Kisaakye alleged that Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, had attempted to obstruct her from handing down her dissenting judgement. 

Owiny-Dollo denied the charge. Kisaakye was subjected to an investigation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

In February 2023, the JSC ruled that Kisaakye had desecrated the Supreme Court when she held a press conference and made a scathing and disrespectful attacks on the Chief Justice, defied his directives to share her findings with other members of the panel and was absent from work beyond her approved leave period.

The judiciary later suspended payment of Justice Kisaakye’s salary, housing, medical and other benefits for being away from her duties without official leave.

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