Who is Catherine Bamugemereire? Flash Uganda Media looks at her Biography, Politics, Tribe, Early Life, Education, Husband, Family, Work and Experience.
Catherine Bamugemereire is a Ugandan lawyer and judge. She has served as a justice of the Court of Appeal of Uganda, which doubles as Uganda’s Constitutional Court from 2015 till date.
Bamugemereire is best known for law and is the Justice of the Uganda Court of Appeal.
Early Life and Education
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire was born in Bubulo, Mbale District, currently Manafwa District, in the 1970s. She attended Nabumali High School for her secondary education.
After her secondary school, Bamugemereire got admitted at Makerere University Kampala, the oldest and largest in the country where she was awarded a Bachelor of Laws in 1992.
Bamugemereire also holds a Diploma in Legal Practice, awarded by the Law Development Centre Kampala (LDC). Later in 2003, she obtained Master of Laws in Comparative Law and International Law, from Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, United States.
Work and Experience
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire started working in 1993, as a State Attorney in the Uganda Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, based in the town of Arua, Arua District, in the West Nile sub-region.
Later, she was appointed as a Grade One Magistrate.
Bamugemereire rose through the ranks to the rank of Chief Magistrate of the White Collar Criminal Court in Uganda in the 1990s.
In 2001, Bamugemereire took leave from the bench and became a legal adviser to Shell Mexico LPG in Mexico City. In 2003, she relocated to the United Kingdom and worked as Associate Lecturer at the University of Surrey, for seven years.
In 2010, the Ugandan Judiciary appointed Bamugemereire a Judge in the High Court, to work in the Anti-Corruption and Family Divisions of the Court.
Bamugemereire conducts civil and criminal court assignments throughout Uganda. She is an expert on corruption and has spoken widely and written extensively about it. In 2015, she was appointed to Uganda’s Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court, where she still serves.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has led three national investigations in matters of corruption in government departments that include; the tribunal that examined Kampala Capital City Authority, from June 2013 until November 2013.
The inquiry into the Uganda National Roads Authority, from June 2015 until January 2016. The Commission of Inquiry into Land Grabbing and Land wrangles in Uganda’s Land Sector, that’s started in 2017.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire was appointed on Dec 8, 2016, by President Yoweri Museveni to lead a seven-member commission of Inquiry to inquire into land matters. She served the Commission for almost four years and recently in October 2020, returned to Court of Appeal.
Bamugemereire was among a panel of three justices, who presided over a criminal appeal session aimed at disposing of over 40 cases alongside Geoffrey Kiryabwire and Remmy Kasule.
The probe commissioners were Frederick Ruhindi, Dr Rose Nakayi, Mary Ochan, Robert Ssebunya, Joyce Habaasa and George Bagonza.
John Bosco Suuza acted as the Deputy lead counsel while Andrew Odiit the assistant lead counsel. The commission conducted 600 public hearings across the country but mainly in Kampala.
The committee registered 7,767 complaints, with 50% attributed to land grabbing, dodgy evictions, corruption, and fraudulent practices.
Justice Bamugemereire before chairing the Commission of Inquiry into land matters chaired the Commission that inquired into allegations levelled against Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago by Kampala Capital City Authority councillors, which ended in the controversial censure of the Lord Mayor in 2013.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire believes corruption is the single most important problem facing Africa. She adds that if people have accountability then there is a great chance for Africa. It has the potential.
Catherine led an investigation into fraud that saw trillions of the local currency embezzled by officials over seven years, rather than go into planned road-building schemes.
The Commission also investigated the grabbing of Kayunga Forest Reserve land, in which it was said that over 2,000 acres of the 10,000 acres in question were grabbed.
Her investigation led to death threats, they had death threats. As soon as they began calling witnesses, more started coming out, and the public got interested. More people came with information.
According to Bamugemereire, threats came by text and phone calls. And Bamugemereire was followed when she visited the UK.
The security forces in Uganda contacted her in Britain and informed her that if she was in a public place, let her get out quietly, go back to her hotel because they can’t guarantee her security.
Bamugemereire felt a bit frightened, unsettled and worried about her life. But mostly the effect it would have on her family and children.
However, she felt the work had to continue because if she gave up, the criminals would have won the battle. Bamugemereire and her team drew strength from reading the bible daily; there was much fear in their hearts.
And it helped because they would always calm down and feel protected after reading the Bible.
“We are doing well in terms of literacy. But our hearts need to change. The Word of God is powerful in changing hearts. We who are reading it need to have the attitude that it will change us. If we don’t change, it is meaningless. We need to get leaders who understand the true values that are enshrined in the Bible.”
“We need to understand the suffering of the people and why they must not go hungry, why it’s immoral to see a starving child and a woman who isn’t given everything she needs at birth. We have to have the heart and soul to see that this needs to end. We have to nurture Christians to change this.”
Justice Bamugemereire’s home also was once attacked by unknown people.
Awards and recognitions
In 2017, Southern Methodist University bestowed on her the Distinguished Global Alumni Award, in recognition of her body of work.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire is a married woman. She’s a wife to Justice George Bamugemereire and together they are parents of two children.