After boycotting Friday’s opening of the new law year in protest at the lack of a substantive chief justice, lawyers are now threatening to stay away from court sessions.
Barely 15 lawyers attended last week’s event, after Uganda Law Society President Ruth Sebatindira urged a boycott of events presided over by acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma. In his speech on Friday, Kavuma downplayed talk of a leadership vacuum in the judiciary, suggesting that the sun would not come down because of the boycott.
“There is no calamity in the judiciary. There is no crisis because the law allows me as the deputy chief justice to act as the Chief Justice and I will serve those positions until the appointing authority appoints the substantive chief justice and deputy chief justice,” Kavuma said.
But in a telephone interview at the weekend, Sebatindira said ULS would pile more pressure on government.
“We are going to change our tactics now because those people [government] have to take us seriously. I will soon call our members such that we agree on this issue [court boycott],” she said.
Sebatindira, however, declined to say when boycott would be called.
“I am happy with the way they responded by boycotting the new law year function. I think it’s the spirit they will use again once we announce our next move,” she said.
“We as lawyers cannot stand aside and see the third arm of government [judiciary] being neglected,” she said.
In her speech, the president of the National Association of Women Judges, Justice Esther Kisaakye Kitimbo, urged President Museveni to appoint a substantive chief justice and deputy chief justice and put an end to the rumblings in the judiciary.