The newly appointed Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny – Dollo and his Deputy, Richard Buteera have taken oath before President Yoweri Museveni at a function held at State House Entebbe.
In his remarks after being sworn in, Justice Owiny – Dollo, said there was need for a lot of engagements with the members of the Executive arm of government so they can appreciate the role of the Judiciary.
“Many people are not in the know of the role of the Judiciary…we want to have a hearing very soon and we would like you to understand us,” Dollo said to the President.
To paint a picture, Justice Dollo said that he is going to be presiding over an institution where one Chief Magistrate presides over six magisterial areas, and a High Court judge with over 4,000 cases.
He said between two to three trillion shillings is locked up in the Commercial Court because the Court has only five judges.
“We, for instance, need 15 judges to sit in the Commercial Court to quickly handle these commercial disputes and have these trillions released back into the economy.
“How can justice be served? We must immediately do something to give meaning to the people of Uganda. In this age, court cases should not be staying in the system for 10 years. We want to see cases handled to completion within one year if resources are available to us,” the Chief Justice said.
In response, President Museveni said he’s still grappling with having the elites in government get priorities right.
He said that these priorities include defence and security, law and order, transport and electricity, among others.
“We have a conflict with the educated people…we prioritize, but they also have their own priorities. If we priorities well, there’s no problem. But there are always misdirection of resources such as creating more administrative units, increasing salaries for some officers and travel,”Museveni said.
“My advice is that there should be prioritisation in payment of judges. When we came from the Bush, I was earning shs150,000 but okayed payment of shs3.2 million to judges. Our philosophy was that even if we had little food, the one on duty would be the one to eat so that they manage to do their part. We remunerated the judges well so that they could serve justice to Ugandans.”
The President also re-echoed his earlier calls for the harmonization of his understanding of the “concept of justice” with the Courts.
Explaining that he still subscribed to “an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth”, Museveni said that he still believes in the death sentence and that he does not support the immediate release of some suspects on police bond and court bail.
“Some of these concepts that are not in harmony with what we stood for are messing us up. When a criminal is immediately released back into the community, that dents the credibility of the system. The public does not understand the idea of Police bond. It is dangerous for the credibility of the judicial system,” he said.
“Bail is also another danger for crimes like murder, rape, defilement and others. Even though there is pressure of too much work, I advise the Judiciary to prioritise these serious offences and dispose them.”
Senior Judiciary administrators on the Judiciary team were Under Secretary, Maureen Kasande; Ag. Commissioner HRM, Apophia N. Tumwine; Public Relations Officer, Jamson Karemani; Principal Communications Officer, Solomon Muyita; and Principal Personal Secretary, Caroline Akello.