The Uganda Law Society-ULS has eventually responded to a law suit by Attorney General Peter Nyombi in which he is challenging his suspension from the Lawyers Body over alleged incompetence.
Core in its reply, ULS claims its membership had the inherent right to suspend Peter Nyombi from their professional body as they wanted to disassociate themselves from his professionalism that was wanting. The written reply was presented by its president Ruth Sebatindira.
Barely a week ago, high court judge Stephen Musota ordered Uganda Law Society to file its response to the suit since time was running out. Court had also fixed this matter for hearing on December 9.
“The respondent’s-ULS meeting being a general assembly has a right to disassociate itself from a member whose conduct is perceived to be repugnant to the objective, principles and professional values of the society in form of resolutions and any other lawful acts, including symbolic pronouncements,” Sebatindira responds in part to the suit.
She adds that from the majority of the members of the respondent who attended the meeting, Peter Nyombi’s professionalism was found wanting hence the expression of displeasure.
Sebatindira further states that in expressing themselves in a manner they did, Law society members were exercising their right and freedom of speech and expression to disassociate themselves from what they perceived as unprofessional conduct and incompetence in a number of respects.
ULS’s written reply is in regard to Peter Nyombi’s law suit in which he sued the law society for having condemned him unheard and that the decision to suspend him should be quashed by the high court.
Nyombi in the law suit, filed over a month ago, faults the law society for not having any powers to suspend him and that their resolutions are null and void. He justifies his legal opinions to President Museveni as being correct on grounds that the government in a statement instead cherished them for being well researched.
He also claims that the ULS did not give him any reasons as to why his legal opinions were wrong. He further states that the cases cited by the ULS as a basis for his suspension are still before the Constitutional Court for determination.
But Sebatindira in her defense says there is no decision for court to quash since ULS was sitting as a general meeting called to discuss topical issues, one of which was the perceived conduct of Peter Nyombi and that the meeting was not closed to him.
On August 29 this year, over 350 lawyers subscribing to the law society, in an extra-ordinary general meeting held in Kampala, resolved to suspend Peter Nyombi from the society by issuing him with a certificate of incompetence.
Among other reasons that earned Nyombi the two-year suspension, are that he misadvised President Museveni on a number of controversial issues including the reappointment of retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki as Chief Justice and the appointment of Gen Aronda Nyakairima, a serving army officer, as Minister of Internal Affairs without first resigning.
The law society through its lawyers of Nyanzi, Kiboneka & Mbabazi advocates, also fault Nyombi for hiring private lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates to represent him in his capacity as Attorney General, a move it claims, contravenes article 119 of the constitution.
Further in her defense to justify Nyombi’s suspension, Sebatindira states that he was aware of a similar extra-ordinary meeting that came up with decisions against several of the ULS members who were also high ranking government officials perceived to have participated in the infamous raid on the high court in 2005/06.