By Our Reporters
Speaking last week during the training of 23 judges on how to align their judgments to the Maputo protocol, that seeks to promote gender equality rights, Soroti High Court resident Judge David Batema said something in passing. Renowned for his gender sensitivity and advocacy for equality rights, Batema made reference to the Constitutional Court decision last Monday to dismiss the Mifumi case that sought to declare polygamy unconstitutional. The case was dismissed for want of prosecution after Mifumi petitioners, who first filed it in 2010, seemed not to be in a hurry to prosecute their matter to urgent conclusion. Predicting that the case can potentially be reinstated since it wasn’t decided on it’s merit, Batema raised possible conflict of interest since some of the Justices on the panel are renowned polygamists. He said conflict of interest, which is a cardinal principle of administrative law, shouldn’t only be applicable to parties before court but to their Lordships as well. He said the Coram should be chosen carefully so that judges who have more than one wives aren’t part of the panel. He says it’s unlikely that a justice who is practising polygamy can condemn the practice in his ruling. He didn’t disclose any names but Deputy Chief Justice Owiny Dollo is one of those who are known for practising polygamy whereby he has more than one wives. They include Florence Nakachwa the Deputy Director of LDC. The others on the panel were the legendary Kenneth Kakuru, Egonda Ntende, Christopher Madrama & Ezekiel Muhanguzi. Dollo dismissed the case last Monday saying Mifumi hadn’t shown any seriousness since 2010 when the matter was first filed in the Constitutional Court. In a phone interview, Mifumi lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi told this news website that the Mifumi matter was going to be reinstated and said he was hopeful the panel would be reconstituted to cure the wrong perception of bias that may result since “it’s unlikely anyone or a judge can criticize a practice in which he is interested.” Rwakafuzi was careful not to be perceived as if critizing judges but hoped those concerned will recuse themselves from the panel since he personally doesn’t intend to raise such objections. Batema warned polygamists in Uganda not to celebrate yet because the case could be reinstated and determined on it’s own merit in which case it could go either way. For comments, call, text or Whatsapp us on 0703164755.