The husband of departed Supreme Court Justice Stella Arach- Amako has clashed with his in-laws over burial of his wife.
Idule Amako, a former deputy head of mission at the Uganda embassy in Ethiopia at the beginning of this week wrote to the Judiciary informing them that his wife would be buried at their marital home in Adjumani. At the time of her death, Arach was survived by three children.
However, the siblings of Arach have since protested saying their sister made a dying declaration that she should be buried at her ancestral home in Nebbi just next to her father.
Thus, the family petitioned the Permanent Secretary of the Judiciary Dr. Pius Bigirimana to overturn the decision to bury Justice Arach in Adjumani.
“This is the humble petition of the biological family of the deceased Hon. Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko against the alleged decision to bury our deceased sister and mother in Adjumani, praying for your good office to overturn the alleged decision and to have our said mother and sister buried at her home in Nebbi where her father was buried as she wished.
We Christine Onyok (biological sister), Picho Godfrey (Brother), Annette Yossa (Biological Daughter), Amon• Jackie (Biological Daughter), Emmanuel Komakech (Biological Sin) and the Ragem elders,” reads a letter to Bigirimana dated June 20, 2023.
The family says the deceased orally expressed her wish prior to her death while at Nakasero Hospital where she breathed her last on Saturday.
“She invited her biological brother Picho Godfrey to come from Nebbi and expressed the same on June 12,” the letter further reads.
Justice Arach had also told her sister Christine Onyok who was attending to her in hospital to honour her wish and she lays next to her father.
Further, the family says the deceased’s mother is still alive and waiting to receive and bury her daughter.
“Also Arach’s children contend they have never been introduced to Adjumani and have no place of abode, attachment or property that could enable them pay respect to their mother as and of when required.”
Judiciary speaks out
Contacted for a comment, the Permanent Secretary Dr Bigirimana said:
“I am not responsible for determining where the body is to be buried. I think these people have misdirected their petition. It is their family to determine where to bury. For us Judiciary we facilitate. For example, the husband wrote to advise Judiciary that burial shall be in Adjumani. Who are we to change that. It can only be overturned by court order. And if the family meets again and decides otherwise, to bury in Nebbi, we shall respect their decision.”
An earlier funeral which released the Judiciary indicates that there will be a requiem mass at Our Lady of Africa Mbuya at 9am on Wednesday from where the body will be taken to Parliament at 2pm and thereafter it lies in the State.
On Thursday body leave for Adjumani and burial will take place on Friday at Omi parish, Pachara Sub-county starting 10am.
Who is Justice Arach-Amoko?
Arach-Amoko served in the Attorney General’s chambers from 1979 until 1997, rising from a state attorney to commissioner for civil litigation. In 1997, she was appointed a High Court judge, serving in that capacity until 2010. Justice Stella Arach-Amoko, served at the East African Court of Justice, from 2006 until 2008, as a judge and from 2008 until 2013, as a “Deputy Principal Judge of the First Instance Division”. In 2010, she was one of the candidates considered by the Judicial Services Commission, for appointment as the Chief Justice of Uganda.
Between April 15, 2018 until April 14, 2020, Justice Arach-Amoko served as the Chairperson of the nine-member, Management Committee of Uganda’s Law Development Centre. In 2010 she was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Uganda. In her career on the bench, Justice Arach-Amoko has handled many election related cases, including the 2021 presidential petition in which she was part of the majority justices who ruled in favour of upholding President Museveni’s victory against his main challenger Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.