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Judge summons striking lawyers

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th May 2011 03:00 AM

JUSTICE Benjamin Kabiito of the Kampala High Court on Wednesday summoned striking lawyers to appear in court for election petitions, saying they require urgent attention.

JUSTICE Benjamin Kabiito of the Kampala High Court on Wednesday summoned striking lawyers to appear in court for election petitions, saying they require urgent attention.

By ANDANTE OKANYA

JUSTICE Benjamin Kabiito of the Kampala High Court on Wednesday summoned striking lawyers to appear in court for election petitions, saying they require urgent attention.

The judge made the order when both petitioner Phillip Aligawesa and his lawyer challenging the February 18 victory of Abraham Byandala as Katikamu North MP, did not appear in court.

Lawyers under the Uganda Law Society were on a three-day strike from Wednesday protesting the conduct of state agents in quelling riots. The lawyers converged at the High Court in Kampala and filed a petition to the Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki.

Byandala was in court with his lawyer Alfred Okello-Oryem. Proceedings were conducted in the judge’s private chambers. In the petition filed in March, Aligawesa alleges that the election exercise was flawed with several forms of malpractice including voter bribery.

The other respondent is the Electoral Commission, which Aligawesa accuses of not ensuring fairness and wants fresh polls.

Byandala got 12,560 votes, while Aligawesa had 7,319. 

On Thursday, Okello-Oryem told court that he had earlier spoken on phone to one of the petitioner’s lawyers, Muhammad Mbabazi, about appearing in court for the case, but that he declined.

“I spoke to Counsel Mbabazi and he said he is not here because of the ongoing strike,” Okello-Oryem said.
But the judge explained that election petitions have been given priority and court is expected to complete them by the end of June.

Justice Kabiito also issued a summons for the Electoral Commission ordering all the parties to “appear in court fully robed” on May 12 for scheduling “whether the demonstration is on or not”.

Justice Kabiito acknowledged the symbolic nature of the demonstration and the grievances raised, but said it would be wise for courts to return to normal business next week.

Asked by The New Vision why he had appeared in court despite the strike and whether he would not be black-listed, Okello-Oryem said he was still in solidarity with his learned friends.

“What we agreed to do is to ensure that we adjourn all our pending matters, and that is why I am here, Okello-Oryem said.


Judge summons striking lawyers

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