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Judiciary to increase number of chief magistrates ahead of 2021 elections

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Judiciary will increase the number of chief magistrates to handle 2021 elections petitions.

The judiciary anticipates a rise in the number of petitions from the 2021 general elections following an increase in constituencies.

Jameson Karemani, the Judiciary Public Relations Officer says that the number of chief magistrates will be increased from 38 to 45.

He says the Judiciary can only recruit seven more chief magistrates to add to the existing 38 because of lack of enough funds. The recommended number of chief magistrates is supposed to be 82.

Sarah Langa Siu, the chief registrar has also expressed concern about the inadequate number of chief magistrates in Uganda.

She says that the chief magistrates are responsible for carrying out vote recounts from the local council elections.

In the case of the 2021 general elections, more positions for district lower councils have been created, where a high number of vote recounts after the 2021 general elections are anticipated.

Uganda’s 38 chief magistrates are serving in 80 magisterial areas which are few according to the Judiciary.

Langa says the small number of chief magistrates in Uganda will cause a delay in case clearance, but also increase on the case backlog in magistrates courts in Uganda.

The chief registrar heads the technical branch consisting of judicial activities of the organization and also helps the Principal Judge to administer the magistrates.

An increase in the number of chief magistrates would require more funds that were not budgeted for, but the Judiciary will fill up vacancies that are catered for in the 2020/2021 budget.

A chief magistrate in Uganda earns shillings eight million shillings per month but has to receive other operations funds depending on the cases handled and field visits.

In the financial year 2020/ 2021, the Judiciary was allocated shillings 199 billion.

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