Deputy Chief Justice Kavuma Must Leave Immediately, Besigye Opposes ‘One-Man Kavuma Court’

Opposition kingpin and four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye has called for the immediate exit of deputy chief justice Steven Kavuma after it emerged that the judge was meant to hear some 60 cases before retirement.

Besigye was reacting to the news of a new mediation approach that aims at resolving appeals in emerging from the High Court that were now before the Court of Appeal.

According to a Saturday statement by the judiciary, some 61 cases will be handled by outgoing Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma and Appellate Court Mediation head Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire on September 11.

“This will be the Court’s maiden attempt at Appellate Mediation, a mechanism popularly used by the courts in the developed world to give quick justice to the people,” reads the statement from the judiciary.

“If dealt with, they will make the work of the Court of Appeal in respect to the handling of the main suits easier.”

Some of the cases to be handled include: Electoral Commission Vs Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago; Bob Kasango Vs Paul Nalukoola Muwanga; Uganda Wildlife Authority Vs Hon Francis Mukama; and Ponsiano Lwakataka Vs Flugence Mungereza, among others.

But Besigye says instead Kavuma should quit.

“Departure of “Justice” Kavuma is what will help; not another one-man Kavuma Court!” Besigye responded in a tweet.

He equally attacked Kavuma’s track record and the way he was appointed.

“He wasn’t interviewed and recommended for appointment by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) as required by our laws! In office, he’s not discharged duties as required of one.”


Last month, President Yoweri Museveni appointed Alphonse Owiny-Dollo as the new deputy chief justice. He now awaits parliamentary approval.

The September mediation will pioneer the project started last year.

Court of Appeal justices on Appellate Mediation were trained last year by a team from Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution, in partnership with Pepperdine University, trained.
Parties that are dissatisfied with decision of the High Court are allowed to settle their appeals with the parties they dragged to the Court of Appeal quicker than a normal court procedure.
a neutral person or judge trained in problem solving helps both parties reach an agreement.

Mediation is intended to resolve the case backlog. By December 2015, Uganda’s judiciary had a backlog of 114,801. Of those, 36,313 (about 32 per cent) were in the Court of Appeal.

Charity Mbabazi