The recent appointment of Justice Richard Buteera as the Deputy Chief Justice did not follow the advice by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) as constitutionally required, government has conceded.
The government instead explains that President Museveni, solely used his prerogative of powers to appoint Justice Buteera to the second highest position in the Judiciary without sitting interviews.
The admission by the Attorney General on behalf of government is contained in his October 23 reply to a case in which lawyer Male Mabirizi is challenging the appointment of Justice Buteera and Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo in the East African Court of Justice.
"Following the position of the Deputy Chief Justice falling vacant, as a result of the appointment of Hon. Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo as Chief Justice of Uganda, H.E the President in exercise of his power, provided under articles 142 and 147, appointed Richard Buteera, then a justice of the Supreme Court, as Deputy Chief Justice," the Attorney General states in the government's defence submissions.
He added: "The appointment of Justice Buteera was cost effective and has saved government public funds that would be expended in going through a lengthy and expensive recruitment process."
Mr Mabirizi in his petition also wants the appointment of Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo annulled, claiming incompetence and misconduct.
Mr Mabirizi also states that the nomination and appointment of Justice Buteera are unlawful and violates fundamental and operational principles of the East African Community, which include good governance and adherence to the principles of democracy and rule of law.
Mr Mabirizi contends that the JSC did not advise Mr Museveni to appoint Justice Buteera as required by the Constitution and should be accordingly quashed.
However, the government avers that the JSC received no complaint from any person that the appointment of Justice Buteera as Deputy Chief Justice had denied him or her an opportunity to compete for the appointment if a vacancy had been declared.