Profiles of the members of the Land Inquiry Commission
Hon. Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire – Chairperson
She is a Justice of Uganda’s Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court, appointed in September 2015. She successfully chaired both the Uganda National Roads Authority Inquiry (June 2015-January 2016) and the Kampala Capital City Authority Tribunal (June-November 2013). The Land Inquiry 2017 is the third Commission of Inquiry she is chairing. She holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University (1992) and a Master’s Degree in Comparative Law from the Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas Texas, USA (2003). SMU University recently (April 6, 2017) awarded her with a Distinguished Global Alumni Award in recognition of her resilience in the fight of corruption.
Justice Bamugemereire joined the Public Sector in 1993 as Pupil State Attorney in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Arua, West Nile Region. She was later recruited by the Judiciary as Magistrate Grade One and she rose to the position of Chief Magistrate of Buganda Road Court which was the White Collar Criminal Court in Uganda in the 90s. In 2001, Justice Bamugemereire took a career break from the bench and had a stint in the private sector as Legal Advisor Shell Mexico LPG, in Mexico City, and in the academia as a Research Assistant at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas, USA. In 2003, she relocated to the UK and served as Associate Lecturer at the University of Surrey for several years. In 2010, she was called to the Uganda High Court bench as Judge at the Anti-Corruption and Family Divisions of the High Court. She is passionate about effective case management and subscribes to the motto ‘Make backlog history’. Drawing on her private sector experience and the case management skills acquired over the years in the Judiciary, she is known to complete tasks on schedule and within budget. She is passionate about good governance, the fight against corruption, human and women’s rights and the strengthening of anti-corruption institutions, and believes in the vital champion role of the public who are the silent victims of corruption related poor service delivery. She has extensively written and presented on corruption at scholarly conferences at various UK Universities and at the World Bank in Washington DC.
Owekitiibwa Robert Ssebunnya – Member
Owekitiibwa Ssebunnya is the Senior Presidential Advisor on Buganda Matters, a position he has held since 2006. He is also the President of the Uganda Heart Foundation, founder and former chairman of the Uganda Heart Institute. Owek. Ssebunnya’s work-life started in 1965 as a Public Relations Assistant, and Export and Advertising Executive with the Madhvani Group. He later worked as Executive Director of Uganda Development Corporation (Textiles); Minister of Health in the Buganda Government; Member of Parliament under the National Consultative Council; and Chairman of the Mpigi District Council, among others. Owek. Ssebunnya is a holder of MBA degree in Economic Policy and International Trade from the Helsinki School of Economics, Finland. He has had vast experience in international humanitarian work garnered from his time as chairman of the Red Cross and District Governor of Rotary International District 9200. He is married to Willibrold Namagembe Kiwanuka Ssebunnya with eight children.
Mrs. Mary Oduka Ochan – Member
She is a renowned social advocate and economic development expert with vast experience in business management and administration, institutional development, and gender mainstreaming and analysis, among others. She has consulted on numerous prestigious projects including Ireland Aid Uganda’s HIV/AIDS programme, DANIDA agricultural sector programme support, World Bank/OPM NUSAF and the five year strategic plan for Uganda Women’s situation room, among others. Until recently, she was the senior advisor on HIV/AIDS for Irish Aid (2003 to 2016) and country director with the Agency for Personal Services Overseas in charge of Uganda and Kenya.
Mrs. Ochan is a holder of a master’s degree in Development Studies from University College Dublin (2001), and a Makerere University bachelor’s degree in Commerce (1978). In the early years of her career, she worked as a marketing officer at Uganda Airlines Corporation (1978), UPC Secretariat as the assistant secretary for women affairs (1981-1985). She was also the executive director and consultant for the East African Regional NGO Africa Development Assistance (1986 to 1993).
Mrs. Joyce Gunze Habaasa – Member
She is the Managing Partner and Senior Consultant at Terrain Consult a specialist firm in Land Use Planning, Land Surveying, Land Management, Land Policy Formulation, Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing. She has lectured at the institute of survey and land management at Entebbe. She has also worked with Hoima District Local Government land offices as the District surveyor and Secretary to the district land Board. She has participated in several surveying and mapping projects for engineering and dispute resolution purposes. Key projects include; survey of Karuma and Kabwoya wildlife reserves, land acquisition for the oil refinery in Kabaale-Buseruka, land acquisition for road construction for Vurra-Arua-Koboko-Oraba road and design of ten mini hydropower dams under the western Uganda Hydro and rural electrification project among several others. She holds a Makerere University Bachelor’s Degree in surveying (1996) and Master’s Degree in Geo-Informatics (Geographical Information Systems & Remote Sensing) from the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)-Enschede, The Netherlands (2003).
Dr. Rose Nakayi – Member
She is an advocate, researcher and legal consultant. She is also a lecturer at the School of Law, Makerere University. Her academic, research and teaching interests span multiple subject areas including land law, land governance, human rights law and transitional justice. She started out her law practice as a legal intern at Barya, Byamugisha & Co. Advocates. Passionate about legal education and teaching, she joined Makerere University to teach in 2001. She was the Acting Director of the Human Rights and Peace Center in 2012/13. She has been a consultant on land law, human rights, gender and transitional justice for a number of civil society organizations, Justice, Law and Order Sector departments and agencies and some development partners. Through strategic collaborations with civil society organizations, human rights bodies and some government departments, she has facilitated a number of workshops/trainings on land related issues, human rights and good governance. In 2007, she was the coordinator of the Uganda Coalition for the International Criminal Court at HURINET-Uganda. She is a member of the Uganda Law Society, having been enrolled as an Advocate of the Uganda High Court in 2002. She practices with KALNAR Advocates.
Her education background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Makerere University (1999), a Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center (2000), a Master of Laws degree from the University of Cambridge (UK, 2001), and a Doctorate in Law from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (USA, 2012). Her doctoral study explored the dynamics of “informal land rights” in highly imperfect situations involving transitions from armed conflict to peace. She has held various fellowships to research land governance issues; these include: J. William Fulbright Fellowship at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, University of Notre dame (2008-2010), the World Bank’s Robert S. McNamara fellowship (2012) and a fellowship at the Danish Institute for Human Rights under the Research Partnership Program (2011). Dr. Nakayi serves on the Makerere University Staff Tribunal. At the Uganda Law Society, she has served as a member of the Land Cluster and the Research and Publications Committee.
Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi – Member
He is a lawyer, politician who has served the country in different capacities, and the immediate former Attorney General – a chief legal advisor to the Government (2015-2016). For 15 years, Mr. Ruhindi served for three consecutive terms as Member of Parliament for Nakawa Municipality in Kampala (2001-2016). He previously served as Minister of State for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and Deputy Attorney General (2006-2015). He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre. He also has a Master of Laws degree from the University of Edinburgh, majoring in Constitutional Law and Legislative Drafting. Before joining politics and serving in Cabinet, Mr. Ruhindi, among others, held positions between Pupil State Attorney – Principal State Attorney in the Ministry of Justice and
Constitutional Affairs (1981-1992), served the Uganda Law Society as Treasurer, and later crossed to the Uganda Investment Authority as Corporation Secretary (1992-1999). He has of recent been engaged in private legal practice and consultancies through his law firm: Ruhindi and Company Advocates.
Mr. George Bagonza Tinkamanyire – Member
He is a teacher by profession, but he is better known as a political figure, especially in his native Hoima district in the Bunyoro region. Mr. Tinkamanyire dominated and influenced Hoima local politics for about two decades – advancing to become the district chairman in 2001 – won repeated elections and held Local Council V position for uninterrupted 15 years. He voluntarily retired from the position and active politics in 2016. As district chairman, he was at the forefront in supporting government’s bid to secure the 29.6 square miles of land for the proposed Oil Refinery in Kabale, Buseruka Sub-county – Hoima District between 2006 and 2009. He also facilitated the securing of land for the proposed Oil Pipeline highway and other attendant utility, in areas of Hoima and Kyankyanzi, as well as the land for the construction of the 9MW Buseruka Hydro Power Plant. After completing his Grade III Teachers’ Training Course at Bulera Primary Teachers College in 1986, Mr. Tinkamanyire briefly pursued his professional career as a teacher in a few schools around Hoima district. In 1991, he changed career to work in the Estate Department of the Hoima Catholic Diocese, leaving in 2000 to join active politics. He was also involved in a number of wealth creation projects for his people, including negotiating with the multinational companies operating in his area favourable prices for the Burley Tobacco farmers in the Bunyoro region. Mr. Tinkamanyire’s other responsibilities included serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors Uganda Kolping Society (2000-2010), member of the International Kolping Society (2018-2010), and is member Board of Directors, Kolping Entrepreneurs Development Programme (2015- to date).
Ebert Isaiah Busobozi Byenkya – Lead Counsel
He is a founding partner at Byenkya, Kihika and Company Advocates – a leading Kampala-based law firm. He is one of Uganda’s top litigation lawyers – continuously ranked high in every edition of Chambers Global issued in the past decade. Of recent, he was a Lead Counsel for President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in a Presidential Election petition filed to challenge the outcome of the 2016 elections. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University (1988) and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre (1989). Over the last decade, Mr. Byenkya has also established a thriving transaction advisory practice with hands-on experience in most of the largest infrastructure projects under taken to-date in Uganda. These include advising a consortium of lenders on the concession of the Kenya-Uganda Railway by the Governments of Kenya and Uganda to Rift Valley Railways Ltd and acting as legal counsel for the sponsors of Bujagali Hydroelectric power dam before, during and after project completion. Mr. Byenkya is presently considered one of the leading energy lawyers in Uganda having advised on several energy projects of various sizes. He has also provided legal advice on several syndicated loan financing transactions in Uganda.
Mrs. Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya – Commission Secretary
She is a judicial officer with the Uganda Judiciary, presently stationed at the Commercial Division of the High Court as Deputy Registrar – since January 2017. Prior to the posting, Mrs. Mukwaya was an Ag. Registrar, Planning and Development – a Judiciary arm that partly coordinated the multi-million dollar DANIDA-funded Uganda Good Governance Project. Under the Project, she directly supervised the implementation of a number of Judiciary development programs and Access to Justice Initiatives. Ms Kazaarwe has a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management from Uganda Management Institute, Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Center and a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University. She has over 17 years of mainly judicial work experience, starting out as a Legal Associate with Ruyondo & Co Advocates in 1999. She joined the Judiciary as a Magistrate Grade One (2000-2004) and rose to Senior Magistrate Grade One (2004-2008). In 2009, she became Personal Assistant to the then Deputy Chief Justice, Laetitia Mukasa Kikonyogo, leaving on promotion as Chief Magistrate in 2010, and served in Hoima and Buganda Road Courts in Kampala up to 2014. In May 2014, she was briefly posted to the Inspectorate of Courts as an Ag. Assistant Registrar, before she was assigned to manage the donor project. Ms Kazaarwe also works on the Executive of the National Association of Women Judges of Uganda as a secretary and engages in part-time work as an External Examiner at the Law Development Centre.
Dr. Douglas Singiza – Assistant Secretary, Research
Dr Singiza (PhD Public Law) is a Research Officer at the Judicial Studies Institute (JSI) the Judiciary of Uganda, a research and training institution of the Judiciary, focusing on imparting skills on judicial officers in the areas of adjudication, mediation, human rights, counterterrorism and good governance. His PhD thesis examines the intrusive top-down decentralisation in Uganda and questions its ability to promote local development, nurture local democracy and accommodation of ethnic diversity. His thesis is in advanced stages of review into a book by the Ash gate publishers. He has published in the areas of district council powers, electoral systems, and ethnic and social identity politics in Uganda. Dr. Singiza Douglas has previously undertaken research at the Special Court of Sierra Leone as part of his Masters in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa. He has also conducted comparative research as a Visiting Scholar at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium focusing on the Flemish linguistic identity question as well as serving as a Guest Researcher at the University if Fribourg, Switzerland focusing on the Swiss federal government system. He has reviewed numerous articles for publication, published a number of articles in accredited journals and presented papers at various international workshops and conferences both in Africa and in Europe. His research, teaching and consulting focuses on multilevel government, good governance and human rights in Africa.
Mr. John Bosco Rujagaata Suuza – Assistant Lead Counsel
He is the Commissioner of Contracts and Negotiations in the Attorney General’s Chambers at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He is also the designated Legal Assistant to the Attorney General. His duties broadly entail the provision of legal counsel to the Government and allied institutions on any matter; and guiding all Government negotiations both domestically and internationally. His other duties mainly involve the drafting and reviewing of Government contracts, international treaties and all types of agreements to which the Government of Uganda is a party or in which it has an interest. He also represents the Attorney General in any forums both within and outside Uganda. As the designated Legal Assistant to the Attorney General, his duties entail the provision of day-to-day and on-call professional assistance to the Attorney General. Mr. Suuza holds a Master of Laws Degree (with Distinction) in Petroleum Law and Policy from the University of Dundee (2015), a Bachelor of Laws Degree (with Honours) from Makerere University (1998) and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre (1999). He joined the Justice Ministry in the year 2000 at the rank of State Attorney, rose to Senior State Attorney (2005), Principal State Attorney (2010) and was assigned the current office with effect from March 2017. He has, among other things, served as Government of Uganda Legal Counsel in negotiations on the Uganda – Tanzania Inter-Governmental Agreement on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, and currently represents the Attorney General on the Government team spearheading the development of the Oil Refinery in Western Uganda. He was also Legal Counsel for the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council for 10 years (2003 – 2013). He is also the coordinator of Uganda’s defence in the case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda) before the International Court of Justice (ICJ); and is the Desk Officer for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.