Sky’s Protea Hotel was the venue of a memorable event as Supreme Court Justices formally welcomed the new Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo and also bid farewell to CJ Emeritus, Bart M. Katureebe.
The Justices also used the dinner to commend retired Justices of the Court, thanking them for a job well done.
Justice Stella Arach Amoko pointed out that the dinner had been planned earlier but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant problems.
The Chief Justice thanked the Justices for the kind gesture to bid farewell to the now retired CJ. He said, “we shall remember you for the many things you have done including fighting for us to have a home for us the appellate courts, the passing of the Administration of the Judiciary Act…”
Justice Owiny-Dollo went on to thank the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera (who was in attendance for his exemplary leadership skills. “I have no doubt that the current DCJ will do a better job than I did as DCJ. I will appreciate his guidance because he has spent longer in the Supreme Court than I have and has more experience (at the Court).”
He also thanked God for his position which he described as “the pinnacle of a legal career”.
The Chief Justice Emeritus shared how his time in as the head of the Judiciary was an enriching and learning experience.
He added, “We do a lot as Justices and sometimes we are not appreciated. However, when you look at the work and the appreciation and the consultancies Justices get after retirement, then you realise that indeed you are appreciated.”
He added, “The Judiciary of Uganda is very strong even though there are challenges, our judges are second to none…stay strong and we shall be able to continue flying high.”
The retired CJ also applauded the role of the administrative staff for ensuring that he enjoyed a seamless tenure in office.
Justice Esther Kisaakye who spoke on behalf of the Supreme Court Justices, equally thanked the retired justices for serving their country in different capacities. She appreciated the fact that in spite of their differences in opinion, they maintained a cordial working relationship.
On behalf of the retired justices, Justice Jotham Tumwesigye said the Bench was “one of the best places that he had served”. He urged the Judiciary administration to consider creating offices for retired Justices to read, work and continue interacting with their colleagues.
The climax of the evening’s merrymaking was when the the Chief Justice cut cake together. This was followed by a plaque which was handed to Justice Katureebe in appreciation of his service as Chief Justice. The other retired Justices were each given tokens of appreciation for a job well-done.
Justice Mike Chibita and retired Justices; Augustine Nshimye and Eldad Mwangusya took part in the celebration. Also present was the Court’s Registrar; Harriet Ssali-Abrahams.