Who is Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo?
Who is Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo?

Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo is a Ugandan lawyer and judge. He has been the Chief Justice of Uganda since 20 August 2020, he was appointed to the position in August 2020 replacing Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe.

Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe had clocked the mandatory retirement age of 70 years on June 2020. 

Before present position, Owiny-Dollo served as the Acting Chief Justice of Uganda from 22 June 2020 and was a deputy Chief Justice of Uganda from 30 September 2017. He’s famous for writing sound and well-reasoned judgments.

Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo one time directly advised LRA leader Joseph Kony to surrender and face trial at ICC, officially has three wives including the Deputy Director LDC Florence Nakachwa. 

Early Life and Education

Alfonse Owiny-Dollo was born on 18 January 1956 in Agago District, Uganda. He attended Makerere University where he attained a Bachelor of Laws Degree. After his degree, Owiny-Dollo proceeded to Law Development Centre (LDC), Kampala where he attained a Diploma in Legal Practice.

Later, Owiny-Dollo joined the University of Bradford, the United Kingdom to study Master of Arts. Then Center for Conflicts Resolution, Cape Town, South Africa from where he obtained a Certificate in Advanced Mediation Skills.

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owiny-dollo bobi wine petition case
Owiny-Dollo is the lead judge in the petition case filed by the National Unity Platform (NUP), led by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine.

Justice Owinyi-Dollo served as President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s Legal Counsel in the 2006 Presidential Election Petition filed by the then opposition Presidential Candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye

This was before he joined the High Court.

Justice Owiny Dollo enrolled as an advocate in May 1985. He served in the following position; Defense Counsel in the landmark high-treason trial appeal and retrial of Prof. Isaac Newton Ojok on charges of treason and convicted to death. 

However, later a retrial, he was acquitted of the charges. 

In 1988, Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo was a Legal Counsel in the peace talks between the then rebel outfit, Uganda People’s Democratic Movement (UPDM), and the government of Uganda. 

In that capacity, he wrote the peace agreement executed between the government and UPDM, on 3 June 1988, Peace Stadium, in Gulu. From 1994 until 1996, he was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 Uganda Constitution. 

Owiny Dollo also served as a Member of Parliament, representing Agago County in the 6th Parliament (1996-2001). 

During the talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the government of Uganda, from 2006 until 2008, Owiny-Dollo served as legal counsel to Riek Machar, the Vice President of South Sudan, who mediated the talks.

In 2008, he was appointed to the High Court of Uganda, serving in that capacity until 2015. In 2015, Owiny-Dollo was promoted to the Court of Appeal of Uganda. 

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However, he couldn’t immediately take up his appointment because he was hearing a terrorism case in the High Court, in which 13 men were accused of killing 76 people in twin bombings in 2010. He disposed of that case in May 2016.

In August 2017, the president of Uganda appointed Owiny-Dollo, as the Deputy Chief Justice and under Ugandan Law, the head of Uganda’s Court of Appeal and Uganda’s Constitutional Court.

On 20 August 2020, the president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni appointed him as the 13th Chief Justice of Uganda

Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo is the lead judge in the petition case filed by the National Unity Platform (NUP), led by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine. In the petition, NUP claims the Electoral Commission failed to deal with multiple voting and ballot stuffing in various parts of the country during elections conducted on 14 January 2021. 

Also, NUP claims EC failed to ascertain, transmit, tabulate and declare the actual results of the presidential elections with transparency, as a result, they seek cancellation of the ballot.

In 2017, Justice Owinyi-Dollo was one of the Five Constitutional Court justices that heard the removal of the constitutional age limit for presidential aspirants. 

The other four judges include; Elizabeth Musoke, Remmy Kasule, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru. A group of legislators and civil society organizations petitioned the Constitutional Court chaired by Justice Owinyi-Dollo, the then Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda. Nevertheless, on a majority verdict, the court upheld the amendment of the age limit for the president

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The presidential age limit was at 75, which was scrapped off allowing a person above 18 years of age to contest for the presidency without any limitation. The petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court but lost the case again. 

Parliament amended the Constitution in 2005 to remove the presidential term limits when President Museveni was in his second and final five-year elective term. 

Today, Justice Owinyi Dollo regrets the removal of presidential term limits from the Constitution arguing that the 1994 Constituency Assembly, which he was part of, did not entrench the safeguards to stop such amendments.

He says the Constitution Article 102 (b), provided that the presidential age limit could be amended and removed without a referendum. 

“That one, I take responsibility and anybody else who was in the Constituent Assembly; that we should have secured, entrenched that provision so that if you want to amend that particular article, you would go back to the people. We failed the people of Uganda as a consequence.” he said in an interview with NTV Uganda.

owiny-dollo presidential age limit
He was one of the Five Constitutional Court justices that heard the removal of the constitutional age limit for presidential aspirants.

Family 

Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo is a true reflection of an African man. He’s married to three wives with children. One of his wives is the Deputy Director of LDC, Florence Nakachwa.