The Chief Justice of Uganda, Justice Bart Katureebe has said court orders against parliament are constitutional and therefore cannot be interpreted as an attack on the institution of parliament.
Justice Katureebe said courts adjudicate matters brought before them regardless of who the applicant is, and it doesn’t matter whether the accused is parliament or executive, as long as both parties are given fair hearing.
Justice Katureebe was responding to the purported hostility between the Judiciary and Legislature with the Speaker Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga recently imputing that parliament is under attack after court issued a restraining order in relation to 10BN COVID funds.
“There is no attack by the Judiciary on parliament; not by the Chief Justice, not by the Deputy Chief Justice, not by the Principal Judge, or any judge or judicial officer. It’s not feasible, it is not possible, it’s not desirable” CJ Katureebe said during an interview with NBS TV.
He said court was dispensing its constitutional role after Hon. Gerald Karuhanga addressed his discontentment before it. Katureebe said Karuhanga had a legitimate right to challenge parliament too.
“Coming to court should not be anything for which one should be insulted or abused. If an MP feels something has gone wrong in parliament, no one should characterize it as an attack on parliament.” He said.
Katureebe said he was shocked by Kadaga’s claim since the two organs have been enjoying a cordial working relationship ever since he assumed office as CJ. He said, the Judiciary has never attacked parliament and it will never do so.
Katureebe said he has been privileged to serve as minister for justice and Attorney General for 5 years advising parliament, but he cannot think of a day when such collisions between the two arms happened.
He said disregard of court orders by parliament is uncalled for because both serve the same people –Ugandans, and none of the three arms is above the law.
He also wondered what example organs like police and RDCs who have attempted to defy court decisions before will will draw from parliament in disregard of court orders.
“Decisions must be made and decisions must be either appealed or respected! What example are they going to take if parliament can also defy court decisions?” He said the people of Uganda are the ones who get hurt by such actions not the judiciary as an institution.
Katureebe opined that the current trends call for soul searching within the leadership in Uganda because all through his career in civil service, cabinet and as Attorney General, such claims never happened.
He says he has immense respect for parliament and there shouldn’t be any attempt to attack parliament, today or in future.