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The Portable Coup: The Jurisprudence of ‘Revolution’ in Uganda and Nigeria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 November 2021


In the years after independence, former British colonies in eastern and southern Africa struggled to fill the ranks of their judiciaries with African judges. Beginning in the mid-1960s, states including Uganda, Tanzania, and Botswana solved this problem by retaining judges from the Caribbean and West Africa, especially Nigeria. In this same period, a wave of coups brought many independent states under the rule of their militaries (or authoritarian civilian regimes). Foreign judges who had been appointed in the name of pan-African cooperation were tasked with interpreting the laws that soldiers imposed, and assessing the legitimacy of regimes born of coups. The decisions they rendered usually accommodated authoritarianism, but they could also be turned against it. To understand how colonial law and postcolonial solidarities shaped Africa's military dictatorships, this article focuses on one judge, Sir Egbert Udo Udoma of Nigeria, who served as Uganda's first African chief justice and was an influential member of the Nigerian Supreme Court. Udoma and other judges like him traversed the continent in the name of African cooperation, making a new body of jurisprudence as they did so. Their rulings were portable, and they came to underpin military rule in many states, both in Africa and in the wider Commonwealth.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Society for Legal History

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He is the author of A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and the Nigerian Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), which won the J. Willard Hurst Prize from the Law and Society Association. He is currently writing a book on law and militarism in postcolonial Africa, and on the history of military desertion. The author thanks editor Gautham Rao and the Law and History Review's anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive criticism. He also thanks the participants in the 2015 Cultural Translation of Law workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, the 2018 Migratory Justice workshop at Yale University, and the 2018 Legal Histories of Empire conference at the University of the West Indies–Cave Hill, where this material was workshopped.


1. African Conference on the Rule of Law, Lagos, Nigeria January 3–7, 1961: A Report on the Proceedings of the Conference (Geneva: International Commission of Jurists, 1961), 175. There were approximately 540 African lawyers in Nigeria in 1960, which was far more than in any other former British colony in Africa. In several French ex-colonies, the number of African lawyers could be counted on one hand, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there were none at all at independence. Omoniyi Adewoye, The Judicial System in Southern Nigeria, 1854–1954 (London: Longman, 1977), 286.

2. African Conference on the Rule of Law, 56–81, 96–113. On the role of emergency measures in colonial administration, see Nasser Hussain, The Jurisprudence of Emergency: Colonialism and the Rule of Law (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003).

3. One study counted 80 successful coups, 108 failed ones, and 139 plots across 48 African states between 1956 and 2001 (this study excludes those north of the Sahara). McGowan, Patrick J., “African Military Coups D'état, 1956–2001: Frequency, Trends and Distribution,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 41 (2003): 339–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4. Ruth First, The Barrel of a Gun: Political Power in Africa and the Coup d'Etat (London: Ruth First Papers Project, 2012), 4.

5. Ozekhome, Chief Mike A. A., “The Recurring Battle for Supremacy Between the Executive and the Judiciary in Nigeria: Who Wins,” Constitutional Rights Journal (1993): 2632Google Scholar, at 26, 28.

6. Mahmood Mamdani, Imperialism and Fascism in Uganda (London: Heinemann, 1983), 44.

7. The sources for this project include jurisprudence from Nigeria and Uganda, archival records from the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the National Archives of the United Kingdom, and various published primary sources. An important source is Udoma's uncirculated memoir, copies of which have been deposited at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Duke University.

8. On colonial legal cultures in Africa see Richard Roberts and Kristin Mann, eds., Law in Colonial Africa (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1991); Kristin Mann, Slavery and the Birth of an African City: Lagos, 1760–1900 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007); Sally Falk Moore, Social Facts and Fabrications: “Customary” Law on Kilimanjaro, 1880–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Martin Chanock, Law, Custom and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1998); Victoria Barnes and Emily Whewell, “Judicial Biography in the British Empire,” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 28 (2021): 1–28; and Inge Van Hulle, Britain and International Law in West Africa: The Practice of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).This dynamic was not limited to Africa, and it had long attended the expansion of law in the British Empire. See Martti Koskenniemi, To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Legal Imagination and International Power 1300–1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 699–794.

9. The same was largely true in southern Africa. See Karekwaivanane, George H., “‘Through the narrow door’: Narratives of the First Generation of African Lawyers in Zimbabwe,” Africa 86 (2016): 5977CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Gocking, Roger, “Colonial Rule and the ‘Legal Factor’ in Ghana and Lesotho,” Africa 67 (1997): 6185CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10. South Asians had lived in East Africa since the nineteenth century, when the British encouraged Indian colonial subjects to emigrate to other British dependencies. They came on a temporary basis as laborers (to build railways) and clerks (to facilitate commerce), but many of them stayed. By independence, Uganda's Asian community had been there for several generations. See Mahmood Mamdani, From Citizen to Refugee: Uganda Asians Come to Britain (London: Frances Pinter, 1973).

11. Old colonial institutions were turned to the task of facilitating their appointments. The Commonwealth Secretariat in London served as an informal clearinghouse for judicial placements, and governments could advertise judicial vacancies in the newsletter of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association. In London, the paramount legal institution of the empire, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, was being remade at the same time. On this institution see Bonny Ibhawoh, Imperial Justice: Africans in Empire's Court (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); and De, Rohit, “‘A Peripatetic World Court’ Cosmopolitan Courts, Nationalist Judges and the Indian Appeal to the Privy Council,” Law and History Review 32 (2014): 821–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12. Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (hereafter NIALS), uncatalogued collection [papers of T. Akinola Aguda], Col. Mobolaji Johnson to Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, August 7, 1971.

13. National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew (hereafter NAUK) CO 554/1409, Governor's Office, Eastern Region, Nigeria to Colonial Office, London, September 26, 1955.

14. East Africa's courts had been perpetually short staffed before independence too. Judicial postings there were not seen as desirable, and personnel regularly had to be brought from Malaya or Aden (an even greater “hardship” post) to cover gaps in service. NAUK CO 822/644, “East Africa Court of Appeal,” March 30, 1954.

15. These judges were kept on after independence on a contract basis, and their presence was embarrassing to the now-sovereign governments that they served. They were, as one historian describes the bench in late colonial Kenya, “a mixed bag, ranging from talented jurists to racist eccentrics.” Swanepoel, Paul, “Kenya's Colonial Judges: The Advocates’ Perspective,” Journal of Asian and African Studies 50 (2015): 4157CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 52. Across Africa, some “British” judges had been colonial subjects themselves. Sir Vahe Robert Bairamian, for example, was an Armenian Cypriot who became chief justice of Sierra Leone. All judges received the same salaries regardless of race, but Europeans and African judges who were “either of mixed European descent or had family ties in the United Kingdom” received more generous leave and more frequent passages to London than those who were not or did not. This caused much resentment. See NAUK DO 35/10485, “Appointment of Judge to Supreme Court in Nigeria”; NAUK CO 554/159/13, “Leave Passages Regulations in Respect of African Judges,” November 2, 1949, and subsequent undated correspondence.

16. Later, West African judges served even more widely in the Commonwealth. A long-serving chief justice of Belize was from Sierra Leone, for example, and small states throughout the South Pacific hired West Africans as judges and magistrates long after they became sovereign. Some still do. On African jurists in Pacific constitution-making, see Coel Kirkby, “Commonwealth Constitution-Maker: The Life of Yash Ghai,” in Commonwealth History in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Saul Dubow and R. Drayton (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020); see also Chappell, David, “‘Africanization’ in the Pacific: Blaming Others for Disorder in the Periphery?Comparative Studies in Society and History 47 (2005): 286317CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17. Mabel Agyemang of Ghana, for example, would serve as chief justice of Gambia, and later as chief justice of Turks and Caicos. Nkemdilim Izuako of Nigeria was the first female judge in the Solomon Islands, and Mary Mam Yassin Sey was a powerful judge in Swaziland, Sierra Leone, and Vanuatu before taking a position on the Supreme Court of her home country, Gambia.

18. Comparatively see Sharafi, Mitra, “A New History of Colonial Lawyering: Likhovski and Legal Identities in the British Empire,” Law and Social Inquiry 32 (2007): 1059–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19. On the complex careers of Indian-African lawyers in the region, see Rohit De, “Brown Lawyers, Black Robes: Indian-African Lawyers and Histories of Decolonial Lawyering,” forthcoming.

20. Austine S.O. Okwu, “The Ahiara Declaration: Polemics and Politics,” in Writing the Nigeria-Biafra War, ed. Toyin Falola and Ogechukwu Ezekwem (Woodbridge: James Currey, 2016), 90. The Nigerians were usually the first magistrates in their posts to have legal training. Prior to independence, magistrates had been colonial officers, for whom dispensing justice was one small part of a portfolio of administrative duties. Lord Hailey, An African Survey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 614; Austine S.O. Okwu, In Truth for Justice and Honor: A Memoir of a Nigerian-Biafran Ambassador (Princeton: Sungai, 2011), 198.

21. Quoted in Ellen R. Feingold, Colonial Justice and Decolonization in the High Court of Tanzania, 1920–1971 (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 206. Feingold notes that the Nigerian magistrates were abruptly called home in 1967, when Nyerere's support for the Biafran side of the Nigerian Civil War soured the relationship between Tanzania and Nigeria.

22. Takriti, Abdel Razzaq, “Colonial Coups and the War on Popular Sovereignty,” American Historical Review 124 (2019): 878909CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 880.

23. Barbet Schroeder, General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait, Criterion Collection [film], 1974.

24. Nkem Liliwhite-Nwosu, Divine Restoration of Nigeria: Eyewitness Account of Her Trials and Triumphs (Lagos: CSS Books, 2004).

25. Moreover, some of the most repressive governments born of “coups” were not led by soldiers at all, as became clear in Uganda.

26. A. B. Assensoh and Yvette Alex-Assensoh, African Military History and Politics: Coups and Ideological Incursions, 1900-Present (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Samuel Decalo, Coups and Army Rule in Africa: Motivations and Constraints (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990); Maggie Dwyer, Soldiers in Revolt: Army Mutinies in Africa (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017); Eboe Hutchful and Abdoulaye Bathily, The Military and Militarism in Africa (Dakar: CODESRIA, 1998); Godfrey Mwakikagile, Military Coups in West Africa since the Sixties (Huntington, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2001); and Eze Ogueri, African Nationalism and Military Ascendancy (Owerri: Conch, 1976).

27. Idi Amin had been in the King's African Rifles, for example, and many of Nigeria's military leaders trained at military academies like Sandhurst and Mons.

28. Udoma gained a reputation as a firebrand during his studies. In 1943 he delivered a speech called “The Lion and the Oil-Palm,” which stridently criticized the British policy of indirect rule. It caught the attention of the policy's architect, Lord Frederick Lugard. When Lugard proposed to meet, Udoma rebuffed him. His relationship with Perham, who was an influential theorist of colonial administration, was also not a happy one; “she accused me of extreme nationalism that was likely to colour my work as a scholar,” he recalled. “She felt that she was a liberal and I a nationalist and that the two were incompatible.” “Sir Udo Udoma: My Life and Times,” The Nigerian Law Times (1993): 23; and Egbert Udo Udoma, The Lion and the Oil-Palm (A Study of British Rule in West Africa) (Dublin: University Press, 1943).

29. “Correspondence with students, 1928–1940,” Papers of Ladipo Solanke, West African Students Union, Gandhi Library, University of Lagos.

30. See Christoph Kletzer, “The Role and Reception of the Work of Hans Kelsen in the United Kingdom,” in Hans Kelsen Abroad, ed. Klaus Zeleny and Robert Waler (Vienna: Manz, 2010), 133–67.

31. He was best known for his involvement in the trials of several chiefs accused of “leopard” murders. These trials, concerning a string of killings committed by people disguised as leopards, became famous across the empire. See David Pratten, The Man-Leopard Murders: History and Society in Colonial Nigeria (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007).

32. Udo Udoma, The Eagle in its Flight: Being the Memoir of The Hon. Sir Udo Udoma, CFR (Lagos: Grace and Son, 2008), 119.

33. During Western Region Premier Obafemi Awolowo's 1962 treason trial, for example, Udoma ruled to bar Awolowo's British lawyer from entering Nigeria even though it deprived him of counsel. Chief Obafemi Awolowo v. The Hon. Mallam Usman Sarki (Federal Minister of Internal Affairs) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, 1 ANLR 1966, 178.

34. I borrow the term “ethnic patriotism” from Derek R. Peterson, Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival: A History of Dissent, c. 1935–1972 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

35. Udoma often recalled the fact that his mother had been shot by a British soldier during the Aba Women's War (Ogu Umunwaanyi) of 1929, which seems to have marked him for life. The Ibibio Union had provided his scholarship to study in Ireland, which initiated his lifelong involvement in Ibibio local politics. See the 600-page book he wrote on the topic: The Story of the Ibibio Union: Its Background, Emergence, Aims, Objectives and Achievements (Ibadan: Spectrum, 1987). See also D.S. Udo-Inyang, The Man: Sir Justice Udo Udoma (Calabar: Wusen Press, 1985).

36. Udoma might as well have been the model for Peter Ekeh's figure of the African professional caught between “two publics”: the austere and artificial sphere of the state on the one hand, and the “primordial” realm of ethnic politics on the other. Ekeh, Peter P., “Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 17 (1975): 91112CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

37. Ini Akpan Udoka, Sir Udo Udoma: A Portrait of History (Port Harcourt: Footsteps Publishing, 1996), 174.

38. Udoma, The Eagle in its Flight, 132.

39. On Obote's position see Omongole R. Anguria, ed., Apollo Milton Obote: What Others Say (Kampala: Fountain Publishers, 2006); Godfrey E. N. Nsubuga, The Person of Dr. Milton Obote: A Classic Personality Study (Kampala: Nissi Publishers, 2013); and Richard J. Reid, A History of Modern Uganda (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), xxv–xxvi.

40. On Buganda's place in national politics see Jonathon L. Earle, Colonial Buganda and the End of Empire: Political Thought and Historical Imagination in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Richard J. Reid, A Modern History of Uganda (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Apollo N. Makubuya, Protection, Patronage, or Plunder?: British Machinations and (B)Uganda's Struggle for Independence (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018); and D.A. Low, Buganda in Modern History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).

41. Udoma, The Eagle in its Flight, 135–38.

42. Justice James Ogoola, “The Age of the Rule of Tear Gas: An Address to the Uganda Law Society,” October 8, 2012.

43. Udoka, Sir Udo Udoma, 179.

44. The military officer assigned to this duty was Idi Amin. On the fate of other chiefly objects, see Peterson, Derek R., Vokes, Richard, Abiti, Nelson, and Taylor, Edgar C., “The Unseen Archive of Idi Amin: Making History in a Tight Corner,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 63 (2021): 440CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 11.

45. Joe Oloka-Onyango, “Ghosts and the Law: An Inaugural Lecture,” November 12, 2015, 18. See also Bradley, A. W.Constitution-Making in Uganda,” Transition 32 (1967): 2531CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

46. Udoma, The Eagle in its Flight, 155.

47. These emergency regulations were designed to constrain opposition from the kingdom of Buganda. Oloka-Onyango, “Ghosts and the Law,” 26.

48. The British High Commission watched the case very closely, and collected many documents related to it. For this reason, a fairly complete record of the proceedings is available in NAUK FCO 31/181 “Validity of High Court ruling under 1966 Constitution: Habeas corpus judgment re Michael Matovu,” 1967.

49. At this time Binaisa was an ally of Obote, although their relationship would later sour. Some evidence suggests that Binaisa was threatened into serving as Obote's counsel. NAUK FCO 31/185, British High Commission, Kampala to Commonwealth Office, July 27, 1967.

50. In deciding to hear Matovu despite its defects, Udoma arguably planted the seed of its demise. Oloka-Onyango contends that this laid the groundwork for public interest lawyering in Uganda; if a case was of sufficient importance from a constitutional perspective, formal or procedural irregularities could not be grounds to dismiss it. See J. Oloka-Onyango, When Courts do Politics: Public Interest Law and Litigation in East Africa (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017), 47.

51. Quoted in Oloka-Onyango, “Ghosts and the Law,” 31.

52. The path of “pure theory” also passed through Latin America. See Lisa Hilbink, Judges Beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship: Lessons from Chile (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Carlos Eduardo de Abreu Boucault, “Hans Kelsen: The Reception of ‘Pure Theory’ in South America, Particularly in Brazil,” Seqüência: Estudos Jurídicos e Políticos 36 (2015): 95–105.

53. Harris, J. W., “When and Why Does the Grundnorm Change?The Cambridge Law Journal 29 (1971): 103–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 120.

54. On Kelsen, and the larger history of positivism in Ugandan jurisprudence, see Coel Thomas Kirkby, “Exocrising Matovu's Ghost: Legal Positivism, Pluralism and Ideology in Uganda's Appellate Courts” (unpublished LL.M. Thesis, McGill University, 2008).

55. See Abiodun Jacob Osuntogun, “Pure Theory of Law: Another Perspective,” in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory in Nigeria, ed. Adewale Taiwo and Ifeolu John Koni (Lagos: Princeton Associates Publishing, 2019), 233–61.

56. D.S.K. Ong, “Legal Aspects of Constitutional Breakdown in the Commonwealth, With Particular Reference to Nigeria and Southern Rhodesia” (PhD diss., School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1972).

57. Oloka-Onyango, “Ghosts and the Law,” 2.

58. NAUK FCO 31/184, “Uganda: A Stocktaking,” March 26, 1968.

59. The following year, the 1966 constitution was itself replaced. The 1967 constitution was an amended version of Obote's 1966 document, with even greater authority earmarked for the executive. Kasfir, Nelson, “The 1967 Uganda Constituent Assembly Debate,” Transition 33 (1967): 5256CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

60. On the Amin regime's uses and abuses of law, see Peter Allen, Days of Judgment: A Judge in Idi Amin's Uganda (London: Kimber, 1987); and Decker, Alicia C., “‘Sometimes you may leave your husband in Karuma Falls or in the forest there’: A Gendered History of Disappearance in Idi Amin's Uganda, 1971–79,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 7 (2013): 125–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

61. See Tayyab Mahmud, “Jurisprudence of Successful Treason: Coup d'Etat and Common Law,” Cornell International Law Journal 27 (1994): 50–140, at 53.

62. One recent book argues that the twentieth century's revolutions have taken place in distinct “waves,” each global in scale. The “revolutions” described here would not fit in any of them, but the surge of militarism across the postcolonial world constitutes a “wave” in itself. See David Motadel, ed., Revolutionary World: Global Upheaval in the Modern Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

63. Udoma, The Eagle in its Flight, 169, 177.

64. Ibid., 179.

65. Udoka, Sir Udo Udoma, 184.

66. See Samuel Fury Childs Daly, A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and the Nigerian Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

67. Lakanmi and Another v. the Attorney General of the Western Region and Others (1970) LPELR-SC.58/69. See B.O. Nwabueze, Judicialism in Commonwealth Africa (London: Hurst, 1977); Taslim O. Elias, “Law in a Developing Society,” The Nigerian Law Journal 4 (1970): 21–45; and D. Eweluka, “The Military System of Administration in Nigeria,” African Law Studies 10 (1974): 67–125.

68. E.O. Lakanmi and Others v. The Attorney-General of the Western Region and Others, 1970 LPELF-SC.58/69.

69. Ademola was about to retire, which perhaps explains why he was willing to be so bold. Akin Alao, Statesmanship on the Bench: The Judicial Career of Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, 1939–1977 (Trenton: Africa World Press, 2007), 242–43.

70. Livy Uzuokwu, Grundnorm of Nigeria (Lagos: Greg Groupe, 1991), 2.

71. Udoma himself was proud of his influence. Sir Udo Udoma, History and the Law of the Constitution of Nigeria (Lagos: Malthouse, 1994), 266–308.

72. Abiola Ojo, “The Search for a Grundnorm in Nigeria: The Lakanmi Case,” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 20 (1971): 117–36, at 238.

73. A. Ojo, “Constitutional Developments in Nigeria since Independence,” in Law and Social Change in Nigeria, ed. T.O. Elias (Lagos: Evans Brothers, 1972), 20; see also D.O. Aihe, “Nigerian Federal Military Government and the Judiciary: A Reflection on Lakanmi v. Attorney-General (Western State of Nigeria),Journal of the Indian Law Institute 13 (1971): 570–80.

74. Quoted in Ojo, “The Search for a Grundnorm,” 135.

75. There would be two brief interruptions to military rule: the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari from 1979 to 1983 and the aborted election of 1993.

76. Imtiaz Omar, Emergency Powers and the Courts in India and Pakistan (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2002), 59.

77. Wolf-Phillips, Leslie, “Legitimacy: A Study of the Doctrine of Necessity,” Third World Quarterly 1 (1979): 97133CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 113. The full decision appears in All Pakistan Law Decisions (PLD) 1972 SC 183–204. For the 1958 case see PLD 1958 SC 533-4, 537-8.

78. Even critics of the military accepted its basic validity. “Military revolution we now know from experience is a factual reality,” wrote a rebellious lawyer in 1988, during General Ibrahim Babangida's dictatorship, “as postulated by the renowned jurist Hans Kelsen.” Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Press Collections, Nigeria-Courts, Adebayo Adejare, “Courts and Civil Liberties in a Military Revolution,” New Nigerian, September 21, 1988.

79. Udoka, Sir Udo Udoma, 126.

80. On this episode, see Gyan Prakash, Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy's Turning Point (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019).

81. Nigerian Chronicle [Lagos], February 21, 1975, 3.

82. Olu Onagoruwa, “International Conventions: The Constitution and Military Decrees in Nigeria,” The Lord Justice: A Journal of the Law Students’ Society, University of Ibadan 3 (1990): 1; and Ozekhome, “The Recurring Battle,” 30.

83. Ghai, Yash, “The Role of Law in the Transition of Societies: The African Experience,” Journal of African Law 35 (1991): 820CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 13.

84. The endorsement of a judge was a “uniquely valuable source of credibility” for both of those purposes. See Hassan, Farooq, “A Juridical Critique of Successful Treason: A Jurisprudential Analysis of the Constitutionality of a Coup d'Etat in the Common Law,” Stanford Journal of International Law 20 (1984): 191258Google Scholar, at 234–35.

85. It was lawyers, however, who were arguably the most consistent critics of military regimes. Taking significant risks to their professional positions (and indeed their lives), lawyers like Ben Nwabueze and Gani Fawehinmi in Nigeria, or more recently Sylvia Tamale and Nicholas Opiyo in Uganda, openly criticized autocratic leaders and the judges who authorized their actions. See Nwabueze, Ben, “Constitutional Problems of Military Coups in Nigeria,” Legal Practitioners’ Review 2 (1987): 3143Google Scholar; Gani Fawehinmi, Ouster of Court Jurisdiction in Nigeria, 1914–2003 (Lagos: Nigerian Law Publications, 2004); and Sylvia Tamale, When Hens Begin to Crow: Gender and Parliamentary Politics in Uganda (Boulder: Westview Press, 1999).

86. Moi's most important judicial enabler was the English judge Sir James Wicks, who was rumored to have rewritten his judgments to Moi's specifications. Moi rewarded him by raising the age limit for judges several times, allowing him to become Kenya's longest-serving chief justice to date. On Apaloo, Wicks, and their peers, see Abdul Majid Cocker, Doings, Non-Doings, and Mis-Doings by Kenya Chief Justices, 1963–1998 (Nairobi: Zand Graphics Ltd., 2012).

87. NIALS carried on the activist tradition that Aguda started, taking an increasingly combative stance against the military as soldiers’ tactics became more repressive. See Epiphany Azinge and Laura Ani, eds., Freedom of Protest (Lagos: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 2013). On lawyers’ activism in this period see Bonny Ibhawoh, Human Rights in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 173–220.

88. NIALS uncatalogued collection, Clover Petrus and Mokgamedi Selaolo v. The State (1982).

89. NIALS uncatalogued collection, T. Akinola Aguda, “Re-Thinking Our Values: A Speech Made at Ikorodu,” April 6, 1986.

90. T. Akinola Aguda, The Crisis of Justice (Akure: Eresu Hills Publishers, 1986), ix.

91. Aguda took great risks in saying this while the military was in power, although, as a law professor, he was more insulated from soldiers’ wrath than those who held current judicial appointments. NIALS uncatalogued collection, I.O. Agbede, “Hon. Dr. T. Akinola Aguda: The Man, His Works and Society” (c. 1987).

92. Liliwhite-Nwosu, Divine Restoration of Nigeria.

93. Carlson Anyangwe, Revolutionary Overthrow of Constitutional Orders in Africa (Bamenda: Langaa Research and Publishing, 2012), 83.

94. In 1972, Amin famously ordered the murder of Uganda's Chief Justice, Benedicto Kiwanuka. Semakula Kiwanuka, Amin and the Tragedy of Uganda (Munich: Weltforum Verlag, 1979), 89–93; and Carney, J.J., “Benedicto Kiwanuka and Catholic Democracy in Uganda,” Journal of Religious History 44 (2020): 212–29Google Scholar. On Amin's other attacks on the judiciary see Colin Legum, “Behind the Clown's Mask,” Transition 75/76 (1997, originally 1976): 250–58

95. Ali would be murdered by the Amin regime. Ali, Picho, “Ideological Commitment and the Judiciary,” Transition 36 (1968): 4749CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

96. Jeremy Gould, “Postcolonial Liberalism and the Legal Complex in Zambia,” in Fates of Political Liberalism in the British Post-Colony, ed. Terence Halliday, Lucien Karpik, and Malcolm Feeley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 412–54.

97. Telford Georges developed a legal philosophy that accommodated ujamaa, the massive project of social and economic reorganization that the party implemented, rather than challenging it. See Philip Telford Georges, Law and its Administration in a One Party State: Selected Speeches (Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau, 1973).

98. On the zombie metaphor, see Olaniyan, Tejumola, Arrest the Music!: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004), 9295Google Scholar. On vampires, see White, Luise, Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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