Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The judiciary has described demonstrations at courts as “uncivilized behaviour” and urged anyone aggrieved to let institutions work.
Responding to increased reported cased of groups protesting outside courts in Kampala, Chief Registrar Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa described the action as an “unwarranted direct affront on the independence of the judiciary which is protected by the Constitution.
On Wednesday, a group of protesters stormed the High Court’s Civil Division in Kampala protesting the subjecting of the Speaker Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to a court process.
“Under Article 128 of the Constitution, no person or authority shall interfere with the courts or judicial officers in the exercise of their judicial functions. It strikes at the core of what the Constitution is all about re-establishing the rule of law in this country,” said HW Gadenya.
The Speaker, through parliament’s spokesman Chris Obore, has come out to deny knowledge of the protesters.
According to the Chief Registrar, the Judiciary is an arm of the state with the mandate to adjudicate cases between citizens and government as well as other agencies.
In August 2016, an angry mob protesting the trial of the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura over accusations of torture against civilians, laid a siege on Makindye Magistrate’s Court, threatening the lawyers and other court users, among other protests at court premises.
“Let the institutions work. It’s really wrong for people to go and mobilize mobs to come and frighten us to prevent us from doing our work. Whoever is promoting them is really doing a disservice to the country,” said Gadenya.
“If one side is going to organize mobs to prevent the courts from doing their job, to prevent lawyers from presenting the cases of their clients, then there is something fundamentally wrong and we must address it as a country and as citizens. This applies to all litigants across the divide.”
Gadenya said the Judiciary regrets such uncivilized and disrespectful behavior. “We find it callous for litigants to organize crowds to try and undermine judicial independence. If we want to be governed by the rule of law, then we must allow institutions to operate and that is why the Constitution provides for the courts.”