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Kenneth Kakuru was not an opposition judge - chief justice

Justice Kenneth Kakuru's coffin being lowered into the grave

Justice Kenneth Kakuru's coffin being lowered into the grave

Court of Appeal justice Kenneth Kakuru was laid to rest on Saturday at his ancestral home in Rwebishuri village, Mbarara city amidst heavy rains.

The rains started shortly after the church service at St James Cathedral in Ruharo presided over by Dr Sheldon Mwesigwa, the Bishop of Ankole Diocese. Kakuru was hailed by those in government as well as the opposition for his independent-minded judgments as well as his support for human rights. 

He is particularly remembered for having delivered a dissenting judgment against the lifting of age limits in the 1995 constitution. Some labelled Kakuru as one of the few judges that were sympathetic to the opposition but chief justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo who represented the government refuted the claim, saying that the judiciary has no opposition judges or NRM-leaning ones.  

"Maybe it is among you people that there are opposition judges and then judges who are not in opposition. For us as judges, there is no opposition judge. At least I can tell as the head of the judiciary. There is not a single opposition judge. This is your creation and I forgive you because you don't understand judicial work. When you become a judicial officer, you take oath to good to all manners of people, people who seek justice before you without fear. Justice Kakuru did it without fear, justice Kakuru did it without fear, all judicial officers do it without fear - the one of justice Kakuru was in the open. You saw him expressing without fear, without favour, without affection and then without bearing ill will against any person," said Owiny-Dollo.

Owiny-Dollo said that Kakuru was a very genuine person who was never arrogant but pleasant, caring, and loyal friend and never kept any grudge for long. He noted that if someone had issues with Kakuru, it could have been a matter of communication.

"With Kenneth, we say freely, we say easily, we say with the conviction was that Kenneth Kakuru was what you have heard people say about him and more. He was a very genuine person, I don't know who would hate Kenneth Kakuru. Because you would disagree and a couple of minutes later...he would put his views and position very forcefully and if you do not know him, you might think he's even quarrelling but despite his strong will, despite the manner he would communicate, form of expression, Kenneth was never ever arrogant," added Owiny-Dollo.

Deputy chief justice Richard Buteera asked everyone to plant a tree in honour of the late Kakuru who he said taught many people environmental law that he practised all through his life.   

Owiny-Dollo was the chief mourner who represented President Yoweri Museveni. Also present at the burial were principal judge Flavia Zeija, several judges of the higher bench, ministers and people from all walks of life.

Kakuru, 65 died on Tuesday at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya where he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. He was a non-executive director of the environmental group, Green Watch Uganda.

Many who had known him during the late 1990s remember that he was passionate about the environment and environmental law. Bishops from the Greater Ankole dioceses spoke greatly of Kakuru whom they said lived, loved, advised, and worked for the church both as a Christian and also as the chancellor or legal advisor of the Ankole diocese.

The bishops also asked other leaders to emulate Kakuru and be mindful of what will be said of them when they die. The bishops who spoke included Stephen Namanya of North Ankole, Johnson Twinomujuni of West Ankole, Nathan Ahimbisibwe of South Ankore Diocese, and Dr Sheldon Mwesigwa of Ankole Diocese who also led the service.

Charity Nankunda Kakuru, the wife of the late Kakuru promised to work hard to keep his legacy, which included giving awards to the best-performing students of law and theology at Bishop Stuart University. She praised the late as a jolly, loving, and caring husband that will be missed so much.  

Speaker after speaker appreciated the late Kakuru as an honest, humble, principled man who stood by his truth. Kakuru served as a justice of Court of Appeal from May 2013 until his death in 2023.   

He was also a co-director at his firm, Kakuru and Company Advocates, where his daughter Samantha Kakuru is a director. He left behind a widow with six-month-old twins, four daughters, and grandchildren.       


+3 #1 Lakwena 2023-03-13 08:03
But CJ Owiny Dollo also!, what about himself, his Deputy, Rtd. CJ Odoki, Rtd DCJ, Kavuma, former DPP Chibita and many brand-new ones of this country; who are not just NRM-leaning, but religiously and fanatically NRM?
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+5 #2 jose 2023-03-13 10:58
Dollo, you think you can still fool anybody in this country
Yourself you are an NRM judge ok tell us what problems is kisakye going through, after Bobi wine case
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+1 #3 kabayekka 2023-03-13 11:21
Well judges all over the civilized world deserve to have their public opinions in all spheres of influence. It cannot be criminal if they differ.

It should be the same for everyone. Trouble comes when the judiciary is demanded to pass free and fair judgement and it fails miserably as court cases pile up and the convicted felow Africans are constantly re-arrested, thrown into unhealthy prisons for months or years, tortured and even killed.

Surely the public from such political spectacle must also be intitled to their opinion. Especially if they are the ones footing such modern human inequities!
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0 #4 Kent Mawa 2023-03-13 13:40
Kakuru was 65. Though he has had cancer for a while , he leaves behind six-months old twins

What a man !!!!
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0 #5 Webz 2023-03-13 15:00
I don't follow Justices the way they dispense their justice. But only one particular personality took my attention and admiration at the way he adjudged the lifting of the constitutional age limit for the president.

Justice Keneth Kakuru was the man. He made positive history that will reverberate for many generations to come. RIP Justice Keneth Kakuru.
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0 #6 Mubiru 2023-03-13 18:35
What people call Judges are human beings Museveni sorted out as promised when a Judge decided against him.

They were sorted out into poodles and slavishly obey him. In South Africa Museveni called Ugandans lazy people. The man was right because Ugandans are too lazy to understand that he is the only almighty President ever existed not only in Uganda but the whole world capable of doing/supervising all jobs of all institutions and organizations from Boda Boda, Religious bodies, Institutions just to mention a few to making the so called parliament impotent and useless.

He has made Ambassadors/High Commissioners in Uganda are irrelevant because they see the chaotic conditions in Uganda yet they give all sorts of financial and other aids Museveni calls his money. One of the local papers reports today on hypocrisy of the Americans who fund the regime.

The United States Institute of Peace exposes the atrocities in Uganda and asks Museveni to account for the 54 killed in November!!
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0 #7 WADADA rogers 2023-03-13 21:51
May be the statement should have been" with the death of Kenneth Kakuru, there are no more opposition judges in the judiciary"
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