KAMPALA —Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has said Uganda’s judiciary under the ruling NRM party has degenerated to an all-time low.
According to Dr Besigye, the current Judiciary has abandoned the Constitution and now rules according to the interests of the ruling party.
“Our judiciary has really degenerated, I didn’t know it has degenerated quite significantly, there is now increasing evidence,” he said on Monday, urging all forces of change to work very hard to rebuild institutions that have broken down under NRM rule.
Alluding to the past governments, Dr Besigye said: “The judiciary is not a judiciary of the [ruling] regime. We fought against the [Apollo Milton] Obote government and when we won, the very morning we won on January 26  the chief justice under Obote government came to swear in [President] Museveni. He couldn’t say now go and bring your own judges to swear you in. Judges are judges of Uganda regardless of who appoints you. The constitution is very clear about it.”
The four-time presidential candidate was speaking at the 15th anniversary celebrations of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change at Namboole Stadium.
His remarks come after a panel of five Constitutional Court judges last week dismissed an application by Dr Besigye, who was asking court to nullify the offence of unlawful assembly in the Penal Code Act. The judges noted that since Besigye argues that there is no validly elected government, it implies that there are no legally constituted courts of law and therefore they can’t grant him the remedies he is seeking.
On Monday, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said the ruling showed that no Ugandan court can hold the president to account.
“The Constitutional court said we can seek audience from our own courts of law. It’s very absurd but we need to look at the flip side of it and see how to make use of that judgment however bad it is,” Lukwago said.
Conservative Party president John Ken Lukyamuzi described the ruling as absurd.
“The ruling was an embarrassment and an absurdity. People expected the Constitutional court in view of the circumstances [under which] Besigye filed the petition, to clarify the issues of human rights. But they were meandering here and there into the circus of obiter dictum [legal term for a non-essential opinion of a judge]. We can end by saying the Constitutional court did not have any judgement save for an obiter dictum and that is absurd. We must appeal this judgment because the precedent set by this court cannot coexist with nature and law,” Lukyamuzi said.