British-born Judge Sworn In As Uganda's Chief JusticeAP , Associated Press
Aug. 15, 1985 7:46 PM ET
KAMPALA, UGANDA KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) _ A British expatriate judge who had criticized government prosecutors during the administration of deposed President Milton Obote was sworn in as chief justice of the high court Thursday by leaders of the new military government.
Peter Allen, 55, joined the high court 15 years ago. He built a reputation as a staunch defender of the judiciary's independence under President Milton Obote, who was overthrown by army officers in a coup July 27.
Allen replaces George Masika, an Obote appointee. Masika was in London at the time of the coup and has not returned.
Born in Leicester, England, in 1929, Allen came to Uganda in 1955 as a police officer, studied law at the University of London, and directed a law school in Uganda before joining the high court.
He was critical of government prosecutors in two major cases pressed against political opponents of Obote.
In one case, the government withdrew treason charges against six men but kept them in detention nonethelesss. In a second case, the government decided not to pursue sedition charges against Paul Ssemogerere, leader of the opposition Democratic Party, after Allen moved to take jurisdiction of the proceedings.
Sworn in at the same ceremony Thursday were four new Cabinet ministers, two from the Democratic Party and two from Obote's Uganda People's Congress.
The new Democratic Party members were Sam Kutesa, justice minister and attorney general, and Ojok Mulozi, minister of information and broadcasting. The Uganda People's Congress appointees were Dent Ocaya-Lakidi, minister of local administration, and Cyprian Ajiku, minister of works.
There are now 11 ministers in the Cabinet, which is to administer the government under the direction of the ruling military council until elections are held. The new regime says that will be next year.
In making the Cabinet appointments, the government disregarded a demand by Uganda's largest guerrilla movement, the National Resistance Army, that no more major political moves be made until after army leaders enter into negotiations with the guerrillas.
The new head of state, Lt. Gen. Tito Okello, flew to Tanzania on Tuesday to hold peace talks with guerrilla leader Yoweri Museveni. But the talks did not take place. The guerrillas said the breakdown occurred because Tanzania refused to give clearance to Museveni's planned flight, but the Ugandans said clearance had been given.
Also on Thursday, Otema Allimadi, who served as Obote's prime minister, returned to Uganda for the first time since the coup, and endorsed the new government's pledges to try to unify Uganda and end its prolonged conflicts. He had been in Tanzania.
Sudan's official news agency, SUNA, announced that the Sudanese Embassy in Kampala was being closed and that all Sudanese in Uganda were being advised to evacuate to Kenya. The announcement cited ''politicial uncertainties'' as the reason for the move and said tension has spread in Kampala since the peace talks failed to materialize.