Principal Judge calls for more staff
Posted Monday, February 18 2013 at 02:06
Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine has appealed to President Museveni to appoint more judges to reduce the number of time spent by prisoners under detention without trial, following a protest by more than 600 Lira Central Prison inmates.
Speaking to the Daily Monitor last Friday, Justice Bamwine said the Constitution mandates the Judiciary to hear cases expeditiously but unfortunately, it was hindered by shortage of staff.
On Wednesday, gunfire rocked Lira prison as the police and other security organs quelled prisoners protesting their long detention without trial among others issues.
“When the Jews were suffering in Egypt, they cried out and God heard their cries. He rescued them and took them to the promised land. Can the appointing authority (President), listen to the cries of the people,” Justice Bamwine said.
He added: “Let the President not only listen to the cries of the Judiciary but also for those who are languishing in jail without trial. For a very long time, we have been asking for the filing of those vacancies in the Judiciary but we do not know what the problem is.”
Efforts to reach the Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Tamale Mirundi, on why the President was taking long to appoint judges were futile as his known cell phone was switched off by press time.
However, his deputy Ms Lindah Nabusayi, said she did not have the information readily as she needed to cross check today before she could authoritatively comment.
Justice Bamwine said there are only 41 judges serving the country and yet they are supposed to be 82.
He said Soroti and Gulu high courts had no judges to preside over cases.
Justice Bamwine also said the Supreme Court had only five justices with Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki set to retire soon, He said only four justices will be left after the retirement, adding that the new approved structure is supposed to have 15.
However, the Principal Judge said it was only the Chief Magistrates courts that had a minimal staffing gap. The courts have 142 Grade One Magistrates out of the required 159.
The dissatisfaction in the delays came a day after the Uganda Law Society had also expressed concern about the same.