The Appointments Committee of Parliament has received a list of eleven judicial officials and one executive director of the Financial Intelligence Authority for consideration as Acting High Court Judges.
Jamson Karemani Karemeera, the current Public Relations Officer, was one of the nominees, according to the notification sent by the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesigye.
Jameson Karemani Karemeera, the high court’s public relations officer, is among the candidates for acting judges on the list.
Other candidates are Jacqueline Mwondha, Dr. Akello Echookit Christine, Makumbi David Samson Lwokya, Nabakooza Flavia, Mwaaka Philip Willebrord, Naluzze Aisha Batala, Kania Rosette Comfort, Mubagumya Tumusiime Patience Emily, and Lubega Farouq. The position of executive director of the Financial Intelligence Authority has also been suggested for Samuel Were Wandera.
In the past, the appointment of judges in an acting capacity has caused controversy. Detractors, such as the Uganda Law Society, have claimed that doing so threatens the rule of law and weakens the independence of the court.
The organisation underlined its concerns regarding acting appointments in their most recent quarterly report, but praised the appointment of more judicial officers as a positive step towards improving the efficiency of the judiciary.
In a recent post-event press conference, Bernard Oundo emphasised the importance of protecting the judiciary’s independence. The public considers that appointing judges in an interim capacity undermines the independence of the judiciary.
Don Busingye Kabumba of Makerere University Law and human rights activist Steven Karamagi filed a lawsuit in 2022 to challenge the nomination of judges serving in an acting capacity.
Due to infringement of multiple fundamental provisions, the court declared the appointments to be unlawful. The Judicial Service Commission was ordered by the court to regularise the 16 judges’ appointments within six months.
The Judicial Service Commission Rules of 2005 Section 19 allows the commission the authority to advise on the nature of appointments to be made, although the Attorney General subsequently disputed the decision.
Concerns regarding the independence of the court have been raised in light of the nomination of eleven judicial personnel, including the Public Relations Officer, Jameson Karemani Karemeera, for acting judge positions. The practise has drawn criticism from the Uganda Law Society, which emphasises how it jeopardises the rule of law.
The legal issues and ensuing appeals concerning the appointment of judges in an acting capacity bring to light the ongoing discussion over the best way to make judicial appointments.
Stakeholders concerned with safeguarding the independence and integrity of the judiciary will closely observe the results as the Appointments Committee of Parliament evaluates the nominations.