KAMPALA —Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo is a Ugandan lawyer and judge. He is the Deputy Chief Justice-designate of Uganda, pending approval by the Ugandan parliament. He was appointed to that position in August 2017, replacing Steven Kavuma, who attains the mandatory retirement age of 70 years, in September 2017.
Background and education
He was born on 18 January 1956 in present-day Agago District. He holds a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University, and a Diploma in Legal Practice, from the Law Development Centre in Kampala, Uganda’s largest city and capital. His Master of Arts in conflict resolution, was obtained from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. He also has a certificate in advanced conflict mediation skills, obtained from the Center for Conflict Resolution, in Cape Town, South Africa.
In 1988, Owiny-Dollo served as 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, at Pece Stadium, in Gulu.
From 1994 until 1996, he was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 Uganda Constitution. He 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 and the National Resistance Movement government of Uganda, from 2006 until 2008, Owiny-Dollo served as legal counsel to Reik 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. 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 Kampala 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.
In August 2020, Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo was appointed Chief Justice, becoming the 13th Chief Justice since 1962 when Uganda got it’s independence.
Justice Owiny-Dollo became the first Chief Justice to be elevated from the position of Deputy Chief Justice.
The past Chief Justices were appointed from the Supreme Court Bench.
He became famous for having presided over the trial of the Kampala twin bombings in which he convicted several suspects for being behind the killing of at least 76 football fans at Kyadondo Rugby Club and Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala.
He also led a panel of five Justices to Mbale District, out of which four of them, upheld the scrapping of the age limit clauses from the Constitution by 317 MPs.
Justice Owiny-Dollo is 64 years, meaning that he will be at the helm of the Judiciary for the next six years since a Chief Justice retires at 70 years.