KAMPALA, Uganda: Yummy and exclusive news we have is that out-of-political-job, former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi (JPAM) is eyeing the vacant Chief Justice (CJ) slot, the Investigator can authoritatively report.
This, after we understand how JPAM rejected the job of Vice President that was being dangled at him, dismissing it as petty for a man of his age, political stature and experience. Mbabazi, who is naturally aloof, likens the job of Vice President to that of the errand boy of the Principal because it is kind of ceremonial.
In fact, while he served in cabinet, JPAM used to hold in contempt, the holders of that post right from the less-serious Dr. Gilbert Baalibaseka Bukenya. The CJ job fell vacant after His Lordship Justice Bart Katureebe Magunda attained the mandatory retirement at the age of 65 last Month.
Katureebe took leave of office on June 19th 2020 having been appointed CJ on March 5th 2015. Deputy Chief Justice Owiny Dollo is now holding the office of CJ simultaneously with his official job. “Yes, our man is interested in the job. He has all the qualifications to be appointed the next CJ. Indeed he is overqualified for that job,” sources close to the former super Minister, brags.
Mbabazi is an advocate of the High Court and the courts above it. He served as an Attorney General in the reigning regime just like the immediate outgoing C.J Katureebe. Before that, JPAM had served as the minister of Defense, among other such big cabinet posts before being elevated to the office of Prime Minister who, is also the leader of government business in Parliament.
We have been informed that JPAM is not willing to take political offices anymore after the degradation he suffered when he antagonized his Master and the same found no problem firing him. When JPAM proved too bigheaded for the President to tame, his boss simply carried out a mini reshuffle and dropped him minutes before he hopped onto the next jet for international duty. And just like that, the man who had been christened the SUPER MINISTER, fell from elegance to a sprinkle.
“He (JPAM) wants a job where he is assured of security of tenure. A job where he will be independent of anyone or any authority,” our impeccable sources offer. The holder of office of CJ is independent of anyone and he is assured of security of tenure. He can only be fired on grounds of criminal culpability, ineptitude and grave illness, among others, but even then, following a rigorous investigation process. And therein lies the problem.
By his nature, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni loathes centers of power. He cannot therefore entrust such a big office as that of CJ with a man of independent mind lest such hardnosed Justice ends up making unsavory judgments to his detriment. Museveni has experienced firsthand, the problem of hardnosed justices such as William Tsekooko and Arthur Oder who even had the audacity to annul the big man’s poll victory.
The other one was John Bosco Katutsi who dismissed rape charges against opposition guru Dr. Warren Kiiza Kifeefe Besigye and even took time off to make uncharitable remarks against the establishment. Nonetheless, the entry of Mbabazi into the C.J fray has really toughened things for Kaguta.
JPAM was once his trusted pal and the man is believed to have reformed following the big tiff the two principals were holding in the past. Now that he is reformed and back to the fold, Museveni can only appease him with a befitting compensation in some juicy office like the one he (JPAM) is longing for.
On the other hand, Kaguta is desirous of recruiting Justice Richard Buteera for the job because he has been a loyal cadre ever since he was holding the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). This is the time that Buteera would sanction any criminal file against any opponent of Museveni no matter how crude the case was.
But we also understand that the son of Kaguta is pondering on bagging more support from the women folk by naming either Stella Amoko or any other Lady Justice of the Supreme Court, as the next CJ. Museveni became the first President in Africa to name a lady in Dr. Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, as his vice. He has since supported the elevation of other women to many powerful positions. One of such is Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the current and first lady Speaker of Parliament.
Well, Museveni is an experienced political master and the last when it comes to sensitive appointments like that of the CJ. He has found himself in such tight corners before, like when MPs refused to accept his man Steven Kavuma as the Deputy CJ. Kaguta refused to sanction the appointment of Katureebe as CJ until Parliament caved in and accepted Kavuma.
This is when Museveni signed Katureebe’s appointment letter. So the Mbabazis and others can go on dreaming about becoming the next CJ, but the son of Kaguta will ultimately have the last word on this matter.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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