Justice Odoki dispels crisis fears

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th February 2004 03:00 AM

THERE is no constitutional crisis in the country, the Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki has said.

By David Muwanga

THERE is no constitutional crisis in the country, the Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki has said.

This puts to rest arguments from some quarters that the recent Supreme Court ruling on the case filed by the Democratic Party created a constitutional crisis.

“I don’t see any constitutional crisis either in the Ssemogerere or The Monitor Publications cases. We were interpreting the constitution and guiding its implementation. The decision of one case does not affect other cases unless it is a test case, so the Ssemogerere case can’t be based on to amend other laws except the Constitutional Amendment Act,” Odoki said.

He was swearing in the Electricity Disputes Tribunal at the High Court Library on Monday.

He commended the Government for respecting the independence of the Judiciary by not appealing against the ruling.

“We did not for example rule out voting by voice. Voting by voice is allowed except on a contentious matter.

As far as we are concerned we shall continue to interpret the Constitution in accordance with the understanding of the laws of Uganda’s socio-economic and political situations,” he said.

“Judges are not supposed to talk about themselves but I have to play a role of public relations in order to inform the public,” Odoki said.

“Judicial decisions are supposed to be respected by the Government but this is mostly done by one arm of government and this is not the case with our government. Here we have constitutional democracy,” he said.

He said although the two court rulings were in favour of the Democratic Party and The Monitor the Constitution must faithfully be observed and the procedures laid down respected.

Odoki said the tribunal was a milestone in reforming the power sector.

He said the resolution of disputes would create an enabling environment for investment and confidence between consumers and suppliers.

The Charles Okoth Owor-led tribunal, with powers of the High Court, will handle complaints from electricity users.

Ketra Katunguka, Percy Tuhaise and John Genda Walala are its members.

Justice Odoki dispels crisis fears

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