Several members of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) have heeded the call to boycott the Judiciary’s invitation to attend the Law Year Event scheduled for February 9.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the group emphasized the cynicism and disingenuousness of gathering with those who obstruct their meetings under the guise of “People-Centered Justice.”
“We cannot have an independent Judiciary without a robust and active Bar Association. This equation is unconstitutional, and therefore our colleagues at the bar must be ready to resist this oppressive gag order,” the statement read.
The boycott call comes after the High Court issued an injunction on February 6 aimed at stifling an Extraordinary General Meeting of the ULS, citing concerns that such a gathering “may” lead to the adoption of “illegal resolutions.”
Among the undersigned ULS members, including Isaac Ssemakadde, Jude Byamukama, Sarah Kasande, Anthony Odur, and others, there is a consensus that this ruling represents a new nadir for the Judiciary and the national bar association. They argue that it is misleading and dangerous for the judiciary to claim authority over professional lawyers’ meetings.
The members assert that the purpose of their meeting was to address recent threats to judicial independence, such as the head of state’s directive for the Chief Justice to intervene extrajudicially in a court matter, as well as the silence of their leaders at the bar and the bench on this issue.
Additionally, they vow to condemn any individuals or authorities attempting to silence ULS members’ meetings, reminding them that censors do not always prevail but are inevitably defeated.
“We are confident that this blatantly void injunction will soon find its place in the dustbin of history,” they stated.
The members urge their colleagues and the public to defend these constitutional principles, emphasizing that without respect for the independence of the Judiciary, the practice of law will lose its meaning across the country.
“A strong, independent, and impartial judiciary is essential for democracy and non-negotiable for good governance and the rule of law,” they affirmed.