The Chief Justice of Uganda, Bart Katureebe has expressed concern over the failure by government to follow through on the issue of retirement benefits of judges.
He said that while President Yoweri Museveni made a commitment to address the issue three years ago, former deputy Chief Justice Leticia Kikonyogo died at a time when she needed these benefits but couldn’t get them.
Katureebe was speaking during a requiem service at High Court in Kampala on Wednesday to pay tribute to Leticia Kikonyogo who died last week at Mulago Medical School after suffering a heart attack.
Justice Kikonyogo who died at the age 77 had developed complications and she had battled Parkinson’s disease which affects the brain.
In his eulogy to the fallen Justice, Bart Katureebe said; “May her memory live on with us. Those of us in the justice administration, may we live to say this lady symbolized what we do”.
He however added; “It was unfortunate that in her last days, she was suffering but she could not get what she was supposed to get”.
The Chief Justice recalled a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni three years ago in which the President raised a concern about the retirement benefits for judges and promised to work on it.
“The President out of his own concern said ‘Judges work so hard for so long, they don’t engage on side businesses and when they retire, they find themselves lacking attention’,” Katureebe recounted.
He said that the President had specifically given an example of the late Kikonyogo who was at that time confined in a when chair.
“It is sad that to this day, that pledge has not been fulfilled but we shall keep fighting. It is a shame that Lady Justice e Kikonyogo, two years after that pledge has died before this was realized,” he added.
He blamed this on other government organs that have frustrated the efforts of the President.
Kikonyogo will be rememberered as the first Uganda woman magistrate Grade I, a position she held between 1971 and1973. She was also the first woman Chief Magistrate and the first woman to be appointed High court judge.