Magistrates report late for work, study shows
Posted Tuesday, October 8 2013 at 01:00
Kampala- Grade One magistrates take themselves as ‘gods’ while conducting court business which has delayed justice, a new judicial integrity report released on Friday, has revealed.
According to the findings of the 2012 Judicial Integrity Committee Report, most magistrates report to their duty stations late and never communicate whenever they will be absent.
This, according to the report, has inconvenienced many court users and delayed justice.
“Complaints about rampant absenteeism among judicial officers are still persistent. There was no visible evidence that the Judiciary has addressed this problem,” the report reads in part.
“Magistrates Grade I ... are gods to themselves. They work as and when they want and do not communicate whenever they are not around, thus they are unpredictable.”
The court stations where the problem was cited include; Kasangati, Kayunga and Luweero.
Supreme Court Justice Jotham Tumwesigye headed the integrity team that carried out the filed visits countrywide that came up with the findings. The visits were conducted between November and December of 2012.
For instance, the report notes that most magistrates at Buganda Road Court arrive after 10am.
Court business is supposed to be conducted between 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday.
However, Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Olive Kazaarwe and Ester Nambayo of Makindye court were reported as being punctual.
Mr Araali Muhiirwa, a Grade One Magistrate at Buganda Road Court, when contacted yesterday, declined to comment on the findings of the report, saying he had not yet read it.
Nakawa Grade One Magistrate John Patrick Wekesa said: “I am now sick, but when I was fine, I used to reach court even before 8am. Maybe others reach court late, but I cannot know since I am not their supervisor.”