KAMPALA – It was a mixture of joy and sadness as the Judiciary on Friday bid farewell to 14 judicial officers who have clocked the retirement age.
Outgoing principal judge Yorokamu Bamwine, Supreme Court justices Jotham Tumwesigye, Augustine Nshimye and Eldard Mwangusya, High Court judges Margaret Oumo Oguli, Moses Mukiibi, Billy Kainamura and Rugadya Atwooki were all bid farewell during the Judiciary’s end of year party. Court registrars Joy Kabagye and Thadeus Opefeni and Magistrates Francis Nkurunziza, Simon Peter Odo and Mukasa Namagembe were also bid farewll.
In his remarks, Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo appealed to government to raise the retirement age of judicial officers to 75.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense that a High Court judge should be retiring at 65. A magistrate should retire at 65, High Court judge at 70 and the appellate [Court of Appeal and Supreme court] Justices at 75,” he said.
Justice Dollo asked the Minister for Justice and Constitutional affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, to push for the move.
“My appeal to the Minister is that; use your bargaining power so that we can play our part as the Judiciary in ensuring that we have a country at peace. We don’t now need these things of contracts. In fact that is evidence that they are retiring them hurriedly,” he said.
In response, Maj Gen Otafiire promised to lobby Cabinet over the same.
“We are still below that [the required number of judges]. I can assure you I will keep on struggling to ensure that we get the 82 members of the bench although they are not adequate. 82 judges cannot serve a population of 44 million people,” Gen Otafiire noted.