Thursday April 3 2014

Resolve mayoral dispute amicably

By Yorokamu Bamwine

As Principal Judge, I am perturbed by the on-going altercations between two arms of government- the Executive and the Judiciary.
The Executive calls the Judiciary names and the Judiciary responds likewise with equal force. Where is sanity?

I have seen this in the on-going stand off between the Executive, represented by the Attorney General and the High Court through the many applications before it with regard to the Lord Mayor of Kampala.

High Court makes orders, they are either rubbished by the Executive or reversed immediately. Ironically, we are witnessing this at a time when the Judiciary is all out to enhance public confidence in the Judiciary and when our core function is to promote the rule of law and contribute to the maintenance of order in society.

The stand-off simply serves to undermine public confidence in the Judiciary and as a peace lover, I am concerned about the obtaining state of affairs.

As the war of words escalates, peace eludes the city, the image of the Judiciary is dented, the Executive is seen as acting high-handedly and the judiciary system is viewed as decadent.

I think as Ugandans, we can do better than this even in the absence of a substantive Chief Justice to calm down the stormy waters. In all this, I see the authority and independence of the courts under threat.

Since the matter is not before me as a judge and even the on-going applications to court of Appeal and Supreme Court are far from being able to tackle the substantive dispute, I would opt for a course that promotes reconciliation between the parties as mandated by the Constitution.

I am convinced that an amicable resolution of the dispute is the best way forward as the saga really gives no credit to the two arms of government and / or the persons at the centre of it.

In the event of parties failing to reach agreement on core issues, we would, of course take ‘the winner takes it all’ path as a last resort and accept without choice whatever the outcome. As the Nigerian proverb goes, ‘In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the unwise build dams’. May God help us to build bridges rather than dams.Yorokamu Bamwine,

Principal Judge