Kampala — The two-year contract for two justices of the Supreme Court will be expiring later this year, Daily Monitor has learnt.
The justices are; Jotham Tumwesigye and Augustine Nshimye.
The duo had officially retired in 2016 upon clocking 70 years but were later called back and given a two-year contract in a bid to fill up the then existing staffing gap.
"For the Supreme Court, Justice Jotham Tumwesigye and Augustine Nshimye, who have been serving as acting justices of the Supreme Court, will have their two-year contract expire in December this year," the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Benjamin Kabiito confirmed to this newspaper in an exclusive interview last week.
"To that effect, we shall be looking at filling up these two positions early enough before their contracts expire. We have to prepare the courts for presidential and parliamentary election petitions," Justice Kabiito further explained
The approved staffing structure for the Supreme Court is 11 justices including its head, the Chief Justice.
However, with the contract of the two justices running out, should they finally leave office without replacement, only nine justices including Chief Justice Bart Katureebe will be remaining.
The Supreme Court is the highest appeal court in the land that also has the monopoly and original jurisdiction to hear the presidential petitions.
High level talks
In a related development, this newspaper has learnt that there are high level talks between the JSC and the Judiciary top leadership to have retired Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court, justice Remmy Kasule recalled from retirement.
Justice Kasule, who was part of the five-judge panel that heard the high profile presidential age limit petition last year, officially retired late last year.
However, he had remained around serving out his three-month extension in a bid to clear any pending work at his table as the Constitution demands.
His three-month extension also lapsed at the weekend.
The chairperson of the JSC confirmed to Daily Monitor last week in an interview of how his Commission is in talks with the Judiciary management to have the retired judge bounce back on a contract and help in tackling the case backlog at the Nakasero-based court.
"We are currently considering a recommendation by the Chief Justice on the advisory of the Deputy Chief Justice for Hon Justice Remmy Kasule to return and serve on contract. We shall be able to make that consideration in February or March.
The retirement of Justice Kasule had left a staffing gap of two positions at the Nakasero-based court since the approved judge-structure is 15 judges including the Deputy Chief Justice who is the administrative head.
The Court of Appeal is the second highest court in the land after the Supreme Court and has 13 justices instead of 15.
Summing up what the previous year was like, Justice Kabiito revealed that they were able to recruit more than 70 judicial officers, a move he described as 'very good' for human resource reinforcement for the Judiciary.
He also revealed how the Commission carried out public legal education programmes in more than 40 districts and that a number of disciplinary measures were taken against some errant judicial officers.