Lawyer Male Mabirizi has petitioned the East African Court of Justice to challenge the appointment of Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo as Chief Justice and Richard Buteera as his deputy.
In his petition to the regional court, Mabirizi states that the appointment of both justices by President Museveni was illegal.
“Justice Richard Buteera was nominated to the position of Deputy Chief Justice which was not vacant at the time of nomination, approval and appointment, it being occupied by Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo,” Mabirizi says.
“The Uganda Judicial Service Commission has never declared the position of Deputy Chief Justice vacant, never advertised it, never conducted interviews and never selected candidates for the same.”
The lawyer argues that Buteera has never applied to become a deputy Chief Justice whereas the Judicial Service Commission has also never advised the President to appoint him as Deputy Chief Justice.
Approval by parliament
Mabirizi also avers that the approval of both justices by parliament recently was also an illegality since it was closed to members of the public
“The Parliamentary vetting of Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo and Justice Richard Buteera, as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda, respectively was closed out to the public and the press.”
The lawyer argues that a report of the Parliamentary Appointments Committee was never presented to the Parliamentary plenary for debate and voting and therefore all proceedings that led to the approval are null and void.
Mabirizi now wants the East Africa Court of Justice to declare that the nomination, appointment and approval of Justice Owiny-Dollo and Richard Buteera as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively by President Museveni and later parliament was illegal.
“Court should issue orders annulling the appointment and assumption of office by Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo as Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda and Justice Richard Buteera as Deputy Chief Justice,” the court documents say.