Supreme Court Justice Esther Kisakye, who gained prominence for her pivotal role in the 2021 presidential election petition that resulted in the annulment of President Museveni’s sixth-term re-election, is on the verge of retirement from the judiciary.
Justice Kisakye formally submitted her retirement letter to the Judicial Service Commission at a time when her employer, the government, was reducing her benefits and emoluments due to her ongoing conflicts with Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo. Her retirement letter, dated July 18th, was also addressed to President Yoweri Museveni, notifying him of her intention to step down from her judicial position.
This letter was distributed to several parties, including the Chief Justice, the Judicial Service Commission, and the Judiciary permanent secretary, the very parties she had previously taken to court in protest of the deductions from her entitlements.
Justice Kisakye had been removed from her role as the head of administration at the Supreme Court, and all her salary benefits had been frozen, reportedly at the Chief Justice’s directive, following a contentious altercation that occurred during the ruling on the presidential election petition lodged by the opposition NUP party’s presidential candidate, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert.
In her dissenting judgment on Bobi’s petition, Justice Kisakye stated, “The first respondent is the incumbent president. He has been in power for 35 years with an established party structure which is in place and which has not suffered any disruptions or closures as were suffered by the applicant’s party at the expense of the State organs.” This ruling ultimately led to the annulment of Museveni’s sixth-term re-election.
During her petition against Chief Justice Dollo’s alleged mistreatment, Justice Kisakye argued that her work and related entitlements were being violated, and the sanctions imposed by Chief Justice Dollo were entirely unconstitutional. She even declined mediation efforts outside of court, which had been championed by Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, aimed at resolving the rift between the two adversaries.
An incensed Justice Kisakye insisted that the judiciary had not provided her with specific details of the alleged offenses against her. Nevertheless, an earlier statement by Judicial spokesperson Jameson Karemani suggested that she was being investigated for allegations of neglecting her duties by taking a sabbatical leave without prior notification to her superiors, as per the standing orders.