KAMPALA – The government has released the burial programme for retired Supreme Court judge John Wilson Tsekooko, who died on Monday afternoon at Norvik Hospital in Kampala.
According to the programme, on Wednesday, there will be a vigil at his home in Naguru, Plot 20 Ntinda II Road, next to Maria’s Place. Tomorrow, there will be a funeral service at St Luke, Ntinda, starting 10 am.
At 1pm, the hearse will leave for Mbale Town and at 7 pm, a vigil will be held at his home in Senior Quarters. On Friday, there will be a funeral service at St Austin Cathedral and at 1pm, the hearse will depart for his ancestral home in Bunakhaima Village, Butiru Sub-county, Manafwa District. On Saturday, 12pm, there will be requiem Mass followed by burial at 4pm.
The immediate cause of his demise is still unknown despite having been admitted to Norvik hospital in Kampala, a couple of weeks back. He had also in his later years been battling the cancer of the prostate.
Justice Tsekooko started his career as a private lawyer on Republic Street in Mbale Town in 1979. In 1980, as a lawyer, he represented then-President Milton Obote in a defamation case filed by then presidential candidate, Mr Yoweri Museveni, now the President. He officially retired in 2013 after attaining 70 years. However, due to lack of manpower at the highest court in the land, he was reappointed on contract for two years as acting judge.
The Bamasaba community in Bugisu Sub-region where Justice Tsekooko hails from is mourning his death.
Mr Akim Watenyeri, a resident and former minister in Uganda People Congress (UPC) party, said Justice Tsekooko’s death is a big blow to Bamasaba Cultural Institution.
“He was among the few advisers we had now in this region. He will only remain in our hearts as true son of the soil, who executed his duties without fear,” Mr Watenyeri said.
He said Justice Tsekooko has been one of the few judges who has fought against any attempts by the ruling NRM government to undermine the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.
“He loved his profession and he was never cadre judge like others who have fallen victim. That kept him sacred judge in the judiciary,” Mr Watenyeri said.
Mr Bernard Elly Mujansi, the Mbale District chairperson, described the late as a man of integrity.
“He has been a very straight forward man, who speaks his mind and such Judges are few in Judiciary,” he said. In 2001 and 2006, Justice Tsekooko was among the minority judges that allowed Dr Kizza Besigye’s petition (annulled Museveni’s victory) and called for fresh elections.
Mr James Shilaku, the Mayuge Resident District Commissioner, said the deceased lived a humble life and has never been was not implicated in any corruption scandal.
“He was a committed, intelligent and A hardworking person, who lived a humble life in the Judiciary,” Mr Shilaku said.
Ms Rose Mutonyi Masaaba, the Bubulo West MP, said the Bugisu community had lost an icon, who made Masabaland shine.