Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has today approved the newly appointed Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and his Deputy Richard Buteera.
The two appeared before the Appointments committee of Parliament chaired by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in which they were asked questions and were scored at the same time.
An MP who attended the commission meeting said that the major issue that was raised was how the two arms of government, Legislature and the Judiciary can work together with the aim of reducing friction.
This follows a longstanding battle between the two arms where they have failed to agree on several issues from the probe into the 6 billion oil cash bonanza after Justice Kavuma issued an order stopping an inquiry into the matter. Kadaga called the order “stupid”. Of recent, Kadaga also challenged court for stopping Parliament from doing its work when court ruled that the 10 billion cash payouts to MPs for COVID-19 intervention were irregular.
Kadaga according to sources who attended the meeting allowed two MPs, Moses Balyeku and Artkins Katusabe to ask questions on her behalf and score them. The MPs reportedly scored the two justices who were interviewed separately on their experience, competence and achievements among others.
The MPs who attended the committee say both nominees excelled and were approved.
“They all deserve it as they were very experienced and competent. The only issue that came up was the one on how the two arms of government can work together,” the source said.
When interviewed, the two justices were all confident that they would make it saying the engagement with the committee was fruitful.
In an interview with journalists, they committed to fighting corruption in the judiciary and handling the matter of backlog.
According to Owiny-Dollo, he hopes to get rid of the rampant corruption in the judiciary but asked that a joint effort be put to stop the vice saying that the judges will not be bribed or corrupted if the public is not corrupt.
On independence of judiciary, Owiny-Dollo says that personally he has remained very independent and the courts have made so many decisions with the powers that be all over the place. He says as a judge, he has ruled both in favor of the opposition and against the government.
He says that those who think independence of the judiciary is about making a decision against the judiciary are wrong.
On case backlog, Owiny-Dollo said that he told the appointment committee that they need a good number of judges if the issues of backlogs are to change. He says that if the issues of more judges are not addressed, the next chief justice will still be asked the same after him.
Buteera on his part said that delayed trials frustrate the public and that is what he hopes to achieve. He says the grave shortage in the number of judges should be handled.
On corruption, he says it is giving a bad image to the judiciary and the corrupt judiciary officers should be made to answer for them.
Parliament will now forward these names to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for approval.