The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has unanimously resolved to suspend Attorney General Peter Nyombi from the lawyers’ body saying that he is incompetent and has embarrassed the legal fraternity.
In an extraordinary general meeting, the society resolved to adopt the prayers in a petition by Jude Mbabali and others about Nyombi’s conduct and the way he executes his duties as Attorney General.
The petitioners say that the Attorney General has given the President misleading advice and therefore cannot continue advising the president and Ugandans on matters that greatly affect the nation.
The petitioners as background of their petition cite the opinion that Nyombi gave to President Museveni over the reappointment of Odoki which contravenes article 144 of the Constitution. They also say that the Attorney General misled Museveni by saying that the recently appointed Minister for Internal Affairs Aronda Nyakairima can serve as minister while still serving in the army.
The petitioners also add that it was the fault of the Attorney General that the government of Uganda lost 13 billion shillings to Severino Twinobusingye as compensation when he won the case against parliament’s resolutions concerning the ministers that were accused of getting bribes from oil companies in 2011. They argue that the Attorney General refused to appeal the ruling and the subsequent costs awarded to Twinobusingye within the stipulated time.
Several members supported the petition citing examples that brought the competence of the Attorney General in question. Reading the opinion that Nyombi gave President Museveni in December 2011 regarding the compensation of the former workers of Coffee Marketing Board, lawyer and Oyam North MP Crispus Ayena said that it is the President who advises the Attorney General not the other way round.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago also cited the opinion Nyombi gave regarding the tribunal to impeach him. Nyombi in his opinion to the minister for Kampala Fank Tumwebaze stated that there was no background for instituting a tribunal but opposed Lukwago in court when he went there seeking that Nyombi’s opinion be reinforced.
A number of lawyers opposed the prayer to suspend Nyombi saying that the society has no power to suspend the Attorney General or anybody for that matter as stipulated in section four of their act while others said that the Attorney General should be accorded a fair hearing.
One Kiwanuka Kiryowa moved a motion that Mbabali’s petition be declared null and void saying that the prayers he seeks are illegal and untenable because Nyombi is a member of the society by law and cannot be suspended.
But majority of the lawyers argued that it is the duty of the Law fraternity to ensure that constitutionalism is observed.
Robert Kabumba argued that the Constitution is above Uganda Law Society Act saying that article 3 gives Ugandans a duty to protect the constitution against people that defy it like the attorney general. The prayers of the petition were subjected to vote and an overwhelming majority voted for Nyombi’s suspension.
The meeting also resolved to adopt other prayers on the petitions which included; that the society expresses displeasure towards Nyombi’s conduct and strongly disassociates itself with the opinions he has rendered that are inconsistent with the constitution.
That the society issues Nyombi with the certificate of incompetence, that parliament passes a law to make the office of the attorney general an independent office free from any political interference and that Nyombi be referred to the law council for trial proceedings.