President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has appointed six High Court Registrars in acting capacities. Those appointed according to a statement issued by the Judiciary on Monday evening are Pamela Lamunu Ocaya, Prossy Katushabe, James Ereemye Jumire Mawanda, Prossy Katushabe, SimonKintu Zirintusa, Allen Rukundo Owembabazi and Thadius AyebareTumwebaze.
Museveni appointed the six following the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, a statutory body charged with recruitment and regulating the conduct of the Judicial Service Commission as provided for under the Constitution. The appointees have been in the judiciary from where they have risen through different ranks up to their latest appointment.
According to the Judiciary’s Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Siu, the appointments bring to 12, the total number of full Registrars thereby representing 100% of the approved structure of that category of Judicial Officers.
While Commenting on the appointment, Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny – Dollo extended his gratitude to the President for fulfilling his promise of ensuring that the Judiciary has the necessary manpower for the efficient and effective administration of justice.
The Chief Justice also observed that filling the manpower gaps will ensure that the Judiciary fully implements its transformational agenda of enhancing access to justice, which is already underway.
Section 19 of the Judicial Service Commission Rules of 2005 indicates that the commission may advise the appointing authority on the nature of appointments to be made such as substantive, acting, contract, temporary, or probation in respect of judges, registrars, and other judicial officers.
According to the rules, a probationary appointment shall be for a period of two years and any extension of a probationary appointment shall not exceed one year. But this is the second time that Museveni is appointing judicial officers in Acting Capacities. He did it for the first time in 2022 and his decision was challenged successfully by Makerere University Law Don Dr Kabumba Busigye and lawyer Andrew Karamagi.
The Constitutional Court ruled that appointing judges in an acting capacity contravenes the 1995 Constitution and therefore is null and void. This was in the majority ruling of four Justices against One where the Court ordered the Judicial Service Commission to regularize the appointment of the 16 High Court judges who had been appointed in an acting capacity
In their petition, the applicants argued that the appointments in acting capacity violate several constitutional provisions, which refer to the Supremacy and the Independence of the Judiciary, and that the appointees may decide cases with fear and favor so as the head of state can promote them.
Who are the Appointees?
Pamela Lamunu Ocaya
Lamunu joined the Judiciary in 2009 as a Magistrate Grade I and has grown through the ranks. At the time of her appointment as a Registrar, she has been substantively the Deputy Registrar at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court. She holds a Master of Laws degree in International Legal Studies from Georgetown University Law Centre, Washington DC, USA. She equally holds a Master of Business Administration from the Uganda Management Institute. She is the recipient of the Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa Fellowship.
She is a career Judicial officer who has risen through the ranks over a period of 14 years. At the time of her appointment, she was serving as the Deputy Registrar at the Family Division of the High Court. She holds a Master’s Degree in Management Studies from the Uganda Management Institute and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Justice from Makerere University. She is the Vice President of the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA).
James Ereemye Jumire Mawanda
Mawanda has 27 years of working experience as a judicial officer at different Registries and magisterial areas. At the time of his appointment as Registrar, he was serving as a Deputy Registrar at the Registry of Magistrates Affairs and Data Management. He is also a member of the Judiciary Council representing the Lower Bench. The Judiciary Council is an advisory organ to the Chief Justice established under the Administration of the Judiciary Act, 2020.
Simon Kintu Zirintusa
Zirintusa joined the Judiciary in 2004 as a Magistrate Grade One and rose through the ranks to the position of Assistant Registrar, which portfolio he has been holding until his new appointment. At the date of his appointment as Registrar, he was deployed to the Civil Division as Assistant Registrar. Zirintusa has undergone specialized training in judgment writing at Seattle School of Law, USA, and also trained on the Critical Role of the Judiciary in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings at Golda Meir Mount Camel International University.
Allen Rukundo Owembabazi
She has been working at the Judicial Service Commission and at the time of her appointment, she was serving as a Deputy Registrar Anti-Corruption Advisory and Inspection.
Thadius Ayebare Tumwebaze
He is a Deputy Registrar currently managing a special assignment as Private Legal Secretary to the Chief Justice of Uganda. He holds a Masters of Laws degree from Makerere University and has published reference books on a number of law subjects including civil procedure, administrative law, land law, and criminal procedure. He has a special interest in Mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution System.