Museveni says happy that the Power of the Judiciary has been restored
Justices Ketrah Kitariisibwa Katunguka, Moses Kazibwe Kawumi, Bitature Mugenyi Anna, Oyuko Anthony Ojok, Stephen Mubiru, Suzan Okalany and Dr. Flavian Zeija were today sworn in as High Court Judges.
The seven new judges bring the total number of judges in the High Court of Uganda to 50.
President Yoweri Museveni presided over the swearing in ceremony at State House today and described the process that has seen the power of the judiciary restored as ‘a journey that started in 1986 and whose future is growing very bright’.
“There was a time, justices were an endangered species. In fact one was killed and the other went to deliver judgment of a case he was handling in Nairobi. Am happy to be associated with reviving the rule of law and restoring the power of the Judiciary,” he said.
Solve common man’s problems
The President congratulated the judges and called on them to solve the needs of the people.
“The needs of your people to solve are multiple. There are those that can be solved and those that cant. Am here in my capacity as a freedom fighter, a repeatedly elected President and a political leader. I have tried to solve the needs of peace, making sure there is no war. The other, which I share with you, is law and order. I work with the police and the courts of law. There is poverty, jobs creation and justice. That is where you need to help our people. Intensify old methods in the constitution and also handle new ways to solve problems,” he said.
Referring to the independence of the judiciary and the importance of dispensing justice, the President said he was there (election petition before the judges) and they sat and decided right.
“We were happy to get justice. The judiciary is a vital service, if there is no justice and the rule of law, it can negate all the positive strides made in pace and security and the pace of development,” he said.
Responding to the need for more judges to tackle the case backlogs in the judiciary, the President called upon the judges to prioritize urgent cases that have an effect on the case. He cited the commercial court where cases of land or buildings take longer to handle and yet their value keeps going up affecting the cases.
The President commended the Chief justice and the Judiciary for creating new ways of handling cases by going down to visit the people at the grassroots instead of deciding cases from their offices.
“Am happy that the Chief Justice goes and visits districts to see the state of justice and how things are going. Even Jesus decided to be human and came down on earth to understand human beings and see how to assist us,” he said.
The President said they have been struggling with conditions of work both offices and residences, a number of health issues of judges etc.
“It’s a sacrifice on their part. We have been discussing this with the Judiciary. We are working on computerizing the court system and record keeping to help judges not to sit for long hours…including remuneration of judges. The economy is improving and the future is much brighter. Even these young lawyers lured to the private sector because of money should know that the judiciary is getting better,” he said.
The Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe cautioned the new judges that this is an important occasion in their lives that demands hardwork and long working hours.
He urged them to work towards building a strong independent judiciary, which is a cornerstone of democracy that will deliver justice to the people.
“Exercise judicial independence. Independence of all external influences, anything outside the court, case and the law before you,” he said.
He called for the appointment of members of the judicial service commission and quick enactment of the Judicial Independence bill.
Also present at the swearing in ceremony were Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, Principal Judge Yorokam Bamwine, Attorney General Fred Ruhindi, Head of Service John Mitala and close family members of the new judges.