HOIMA – Judicial officials led by the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera have on Tuesday turned up at the ancestral home of fallen Supreme Court Justice, Cosmas Matongo Kato, in Hoima to pay their last respects.
Justice Kato died on April 23 from Naalya International Hospital in Kampala after a long illness.
Buteera, who was also Chief Mourner, shared with mourners the rich legacy of the fallen jurist he described as the epitome of judicial ethics.
“He dedicated his entire working life to the Judiciary beginning from the lowest Court as a Magistrate Grade III. He rose through all ranks to the highest court in the land as a Justice of the Supreme Court,” Justice Buteera said, adding that he mentored many judicial officers and an epitome of judicial ethics, a man of integrity.
The DCJ also recognised the wealth of jurisprudence that Justice Kato left to the Ugandan legal regime as a Judge of the High Court and Justice of both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Bishop Vincent Kirabo Amooti, who presided over the requiem mass, described the late Justice Kato as humble, respectful, and God-fearing despite being wealthy, a man of titles and achievements.
Bishop Kirabo thus called upon Christians to emulate the life of the late.
Both the Katikiro of Bunyoro, Andrew Kirungi Byakutaga Ateenyi and the Kingdom’s Steering Committee Chairperson represented the Omukama, Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, hailed the fallen Judge for his service to the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the Bagungu community.
The two leaders testified how he had immensely contributed to the unity of ethnic groups within the Kingdom as he freely provided legal counsel. Further, he was instrumental in collecting and writing the history of the Bagungu community and translating the Bible.
In a eulogy delivered by Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale Biraahwa, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, said the country had lost a tonne of knowledge. “Justice Kato was a great source of love and knowledge to the family and the entire country of Uganda,” the eulogy read in part.
The State Minister of Public Service, David Karubanga, described the late as a person who exhibited exemplary character traits of “integrity and professionalism, and a good timekeeper.”
The DCJ was accompanied by several Judicial Officers who included retired Justice Rugadya Atwooki, Masindi Resident Judge, Jesse Byaruhanga; Registrars; Karemani Jamson, Kintu Zirintusa, Alex Mushabe. Hoima Chief Magistrate; Sayuni David and Magistrate G1, Nankya Winnie, were also present.
Several dignitaries who included the Chairperson Public Service Commission, Justice Ralph Ochan, the Chairperson Electoral Commission, Justice Simon Byabakama and both civic and political leaders, paid their last respects.
Justice Kato – 1934-2021
Justice Kato died a few days after celebrating his 87th birthday (April 2). He died on April 23, leaving behind eight children and 26 grandchildren.
The late was a career Judicial officer who joined the Judiciary in 1965 as a Magistrate Grade III and rose through the ranks to become Justice of the Supreme Court in 2004.
During his public service, he served as a Chairperson of different bodies, including the Bar Course Advisory Board, Law Development Center (1984 – 1992), Public Order and Security Review Tribunal (1987-2001), Law Council (1997-1999). Justice Kato was a member of several Commissions such as; Judicial Service Commission (2004-2008), Public Service Commission (2004-2014) and the Bunyoro Royal Commission (2015-2021).