Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and other top leaders in the Judiciary on Thursday met with a team of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and discussed on how to further strengthen the Judiciary so as to have justice dispensation felt by every citizen.
This has been revealed by the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo and the head of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Jacob Oboth-Oboth while briefing the media after a four hour closed door meeting held at the Judiciary Headquarters in Kampala.
Owiny-Dollo noted that the meeting shared views meaningfully and through this Committee which covers the needs of the Judiciary in Parliament.They have availed to them a list of their needs if they are to make the Judiciary robust. The CJ explained that their needs include getting support from the Executive and Parliament without interfering with each other’s independence such that all citizens can feel justice dispensation.
According to Owiny-Dollo, a robust and well-funded Judiciary will also make it very difficult for the cancer of corruption to thrive in the institution.
He also revealed that the two parties discussed on how they can increase on the numbers of the Judicial officers and have more branches of courts across the country just like it is with health centers, water sources and hospitals.
The Chief Justice also reiterated his call to President Yoweri Museveni in February 2021 when he informed him that there is no way economic development and stability of the country will thrive without a strong rule of law which must be supported by a strong Judiciary.
He wants each district to be having a Magistrate and within walkable distances to enhance the dispensation of justice without having people for stance to travel from the borders of the country to come to Kampala if they have cases in Supreme Court and Court of Appeal which are only in the city.
On his part, the Chairperson of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Jacob Oboth-Oboth noted that there is need to appreciate that Judiciary is not a department or agency but instead another arm of government that should be felt by all Ugandans and their budget should be supported by Parliament.
He added that the meeting also helped them to find specific information on how they can dig deeper into specific items and get information on how they can ably defend the proposals being made for funding.
Oboth-Oboth also promised to pitch to parliament to facilitate the proposals such as having courts nearer to the people and proposals such as increasing the number of Judicial Officers.
Although the parliament in 2009 passed a resolution to increase the number of High Court Judges to 82, the High Court is still understaffed with 58 Judges who have to deal with about 69,526 pending cases. As such, the workload per judge on average stands at 1,199 cases, according to information released by the Judiciary in 2020.
The information also showed that the Court of Appeal/ Constitutional Court has now 13 Justices out of the established structure of 15 and that the 13 Justices have to handle a workload of over 7000 cases.
The Supreme Court is only having 10 Justices out of the required 12.