City Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde has responded to attacks from the National Association of Women Judges-Uganda (NAWJU) who dragged him to Law Council for attacking current Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Lady Justice, Jane Frances Abodo.
According to the complaint to the law council signed by Hon. Lady Justice Henrietta Wolayo and Hon. Lady Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya, NAWJU President and Secretary General , they allege that Lawyer Ssemakadde used vulgar and discriminatory language against Lady Justice Abodo on social media.
“We find the attack on Judge Jane Obodo obscene, highly discriminatory and unacceptable given the position of honor Judicial Officers hold. By extension, Mr. Ssemakadde’s gender discriminative online communication was clearly a crude attempt to attack her human dignity and to remove the honor female Judicial Officers enjoy as judicial officers in their own right,” read part of their letter.
In his response to NAWJU allegations, Ssemakadde said that the complaint against him was “misconceived, frivolous and vexatious” and one that ought to be dismissed at once, citing a number of reasons.
“Without accepting liability for the tweet you attached, you must by now know that Ms. Jane Frances Abodo is not ‘a female judicial officer’ as alleged throughout the complaint. She ceased to be a member of the Judicial Branch when she accepted appointment in the Executive Branch as DPP,”
“Read the Constitution carefully – the DPP [appointed under Art 120]is a member of the Executive Branch in the same way as the other state law officer, AG [appointed under Art 119]. In the premises, the force of the ‘separation of powers’ doctrine should be clear.” he said.
He adds that Disciplinary Committee of the Law Council cannot handle the matter as it will be sub judice since it is still before the East African Court of Justice, awaiting determination whether or not Justice Abodo ceased to be a member of the Judicial Branch and thereby joined the Executive Branch when she accepted appointment as DPP.
“Regarding the contents of the tweet at issue, I submit that it constitutes protected opinion and does not reasonably imply what the complainants allege. As a judicial officers’ lobby group, NAWJU should be aware that members of the Judicial or Executive Branch, whether male or female, are not fragile flowers that wilt in the heat of argument or criticism, howsoever trenchant or caustic. Also the newfound power and privilege of women lawyers in a Constitutional Democracy like ours should not be used to discipline their male counterparts arbitrarily.” Ssemakadde added.