The Judiciary issued an interesting statement, dated August 3. It stated that the chief justice, Bart M. Katureebe, “is dismayed by the acts of hooliganism” after Gladys Kamasanyu, a magistrate grade one, was hit in the face with a bottle…
Since joining the Judiciary in 2005 as a Justice of Supreme Court, Katureebe has justified violence and hooliganism which have eroded our social fabric. Upholding the violent 2006 presidential election, Katureebe stated that “…the incidents of intimidation and violence were not characteristic of the whole country but only scattered…”
In Mbabazi’s petition, the Katureebe-led panel stated that “…there is no way a candidate would control some overzealous supporters…engaging in a fight with supporters of another candidate…”
In the recent age-limit case, where I was the first appellant, he stated that “…security personnel did not invade parliament out of the blue. Neither was there an organized plot by the state to attack parliament and/or overthrow the constitution. …there was a group of members who were determined to prevent debate of the bill at all costs…What happened, and which was highly regrettable, was therefore due to contribution of the members of parliament…circumstances did not warrant the involvement of UPDF personnel, which involvement led to the use of brutal and unnecessary force and violence, occasioning injury and degrading treatment to some members of parliament. This has to be condemned;…The violence meted out to some members in the House, though illegal…was because the members had defied the code of conduct…the violence in and out of Parliament did not vitiate the entire process of enacting the impugned Act...”
And yet Article 44(a) of the Constitution provides that notwithstanding anything, there shall be no derogation from the enjoyment of the freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
After filing my application in the East African Court of Justice to halt the 2021 Elections Roadmap until my case is determined, I went to Buganda Road court to listen to the judgment as well as sentencing the next day.
I had earlier attended a ruling where Dr Stella Nyanzi was prevented from advertising for witnesses. Upon her lawyers informing Kamasanyu that they no longer had instructions, she set the matter for judgment giving only the state a date to file submissions and none for Dr Nyanzi. Which court determines a case before hearing?
Just like Katureebe’s group which refused to summon the Speaker in the age-limit case, Kamasanyu refused to summon the complainant, Mr Yoweri Museveni, but convicted the accused, kept her away from court at sentencing without any reason and sentenced her to 18 months in prison without an option of a fine, although the offence carries a maximum of three years in prison or a fine to a maximum of Shs 1,400,000.
Therefore, using Katureebe’s words, hitting Kamasanyu was not out of the blue. Neither was there an organized plot to attack her. It was clear that she was determined to defeat justice at all costs. What happened, and which was highly regrettable, was her fault. This has to be condemned. Though illegal, it was because Kamasanyu had defied the judicial code of conduct.’
After justifying violence in three consecutive decisions, Katureebe has been a good teacher to our generation that ‘the end justifies the means’ and he would hence be the last person to blame the suspects.
It was also reported that in pendency of trial, Katureebe praised Kamasanyu for the way she was handling the case, although it was below standard. He repeated this in the statement, well aware that such prejudices any possible appeal.
Judicial officers need to know that under Article 126 of the Constitution, they are accountable to the people in whose name and aspirations they are supposed to serve, hence they must be logical in their actions or else they will face more self-provoked on-duty challenges.
The author is a lawyer