05 Aug 2013

Women lawyers condemn Uganda judge re-appointment

A row has broken out over the re-appointment of a judge to the Uganda Supreme Court.

Uganda: Chief Justice retired at 70 but re-appointment has provoked anger Pecold

The judge, Justice Benjamin Odoki, retired at 70 years of age but was re-appointed as an acting Supreme Court Justice in a move that is widely expected to lead to him being appointed as Chief Justice. However, the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has slammed the move which they are claiming is a ‘disrespect of the rule of law’.

No imperative to extend the term

According to The Observer, FIDA issued a statement on Friday condemning the re-appointment of the judge, claiming there is ‘no imperative to extend the term of Chief Justice, despite arguments about his competencies, as there are several other female and male judges who are well qualified to fill this position.’

Legal restrictions

According to the Daily Monitor, the judge was re-appointed in order to avoid any legal restrictions on becoming Chief Justice out of retirement. Three other retired Justices were re-appointed by the Judiciary to join him. The judiciary welcomed the re-appointment of Justice Odoki but would not comment on the controversial Chief Justice appointment.  Meanwhile the Judicial Service Commission had proposed another judge as the new Chief Justice but was allegedly over-ruled by the President.