Excitement Over Owiny Dollo’s Appointment As Deputy Chief Justice
By Peter Labeja
The appointment of Justice Owiny Dollo as Deputy Chief Justice has caused excitement in Acholi.
In an August 18th letter to the Speaker of Parliament, president Museveni also appointed Justices Paul Mugamba and Richard Buteera on the bench of the Supreme Court.
“This is, therefore, to forward to you their names and Curriculum Vitae for parliamentary approval,” the president said in his letter which was copied to the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission.
If approved by Parliament, Justice Owiny-Dollo will replace Justice Steven Kavuma who retires next month.
Charles Komakech, the former coordinator of Kitgum NGO Forum says Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo brings to the position of Deputy Chief Justice merit, vast experiences, an undisputed track record of public service and high moral integrity.
“I think the appointment is meritorious. Justice Dollo has a track record that cannot be disputed both in legal practice and politics. I am confident he will withstand the pressure in that office. He is above the caliber of a cadre judge,’’ said Komakech.
Komakech said Justice Owiny Dollo demonstrated high political integrity when he returned to his judicial work after he lost Agago County parliamentary seat to Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo in 2006.
Mathew Ochen Akiya, the former LCV Chairperson of Lamwo district says Justice Owiny Dollo is a seasoned judicial officer who has successfully handled many sensitive issues in the country. He says his appointment is a huge vote of confidence in the government of President Museveni which has for long been accused of sidelining northern Uganda in the share of national cake.
“I receive the news with excitement because Hon. Justice Owiny Dollo has been a very seasoned judicial officer. He worked in the judiciary for many-many years and he has proved to be very competent in all the positions he has held in the judiciary. He can manage it very well. Two, we in the north, particularly the Acholi have been concerned that government has not been sharing in the national cake with us fairly and equitably. And I think elevation of Justice Owiny Dollo to that position should answer that cry”, Akiya said on phone.
Ambrose Ola, the Prime Minister of Acholi Cultural Institution, Ker Kwaro Acholi, says the appointment of Justice Owiny Dollo is a major milestone for the region. He says Justice Owiny Dollo is one of the few accomplished Acholi personality holding vast experiences in the history and culture of the Acholi people.
Chris Ouma, the Secretary General of Uganda People’s Congress Party in Gulu district says the appointment of Justice Owiny Dollo should mark the onset of fairness, equity and regional balance in distribution of senior government positions.
Engineer Hilary Onek, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Refugees and Relief says he is very proud of the appointment adding that Justice Dollo has been among the few bright lights that guided the sub region during it’s the conflict in northern Uganda.
Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo has served the country in various positions including State Minister for Pacification of Northern Uganda. After losing Agago County Parliamentary seat to Professor Morris Ogenga Latigo in 2006, President Museveni appointed Justice Dollo to the bench as High Court Judge, where he remains to date.
In May last year, Justice Owiny-Dollo convicted seven men behind the July 11, 2010 terror attacks in Kampala that claimed the lives of 74 people.
The double bombing targeted two venues the Ethiopian Restaurant and Kyadondo Rugby Club as revelers watched the World Cup Final match between Spain and the Netherlands.
Five of the convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment while the two received 50 years each. Thirteen others were acquitted.
It was the calm demeanour with which Justice Owiny-Dollo handled the highly sensitive case that endeared him to many. The men could have faced the death penalty, the maximum for terrorism, but Owiny-Dollo said he did not believe it would act as a deterrent.