In his inaugural speech, after being sworn in as the new Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama made a passionate plea to Ugandans especially critics to give him time to deliver on his mandate. In making the plea, Justice Byabakama was well aware of the documented lack of confidence in the electoral body and did not shy away from taking note of this, before stating his credentials of being “independent”. “I am coming from a background were being independent is a prerequisite of exercise of the judicial power. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am not about to throw off that gown and leave it in court,” he said. Unfortunately for him, Justice Byabakama has in the past been found to have thrown off that “gown” particularly during his time at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
As deputy DPP, Justice Byabakama was the lead prosecutor in the famous “Besigye rape” case against Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye, a man he is likely to deal with often during his tenure at EC.
Quoting Lord Brougham, Justice John Bosco Katutsi of the High Court who presided over the case declared Justice Byabakama’s evidence against Dr Besigye as “inadequate even to prove a debt, impotent to deprive of a civil right, ridiculous for convicting of the pettiest offence, scandalous if brought forward to support a charge of any grave character, monstrous if to ruin the honour of a man who offered himself as a candidate for the highest office of this country.”