What you need to know:
- The head of the Judiciary wondered why the prime minister could not call the Chief Justice or the Principal Judge to have any issues resolved rather than seem to be seen chairing court as she did.
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has tasked the Mwanga II Court Magistrate to explain the circumstances that prompted Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to storm court and rescue a woman who had been jailed over a Shs2.8m debt.
On Tuesday, the head of government business stormed Mwanga II Court near Kampala and paid Shs2.8m, rescuing Ms Gertrude Nalule, who was on the verge of losing her plot of land and house at only Shs10m in the process.
But the direct intervention of the prime minister has brought about the big question of the independence of the Judiciary, one of the three arms of government.
“I have given the magistrate up to 10am today (yesterday) to give me a full account of what exactly happened, how the prime minister came into play. We shall thereafter, issue a reaction and we shall be firm,” the Chief Justice said yesterday by telephone.
The matter had been handled by Magistrate Amon Mugezi.
The head of the Judiciary wondered why the prime minister could not call the Chief Justice or the Principal Judge to have any issues resolved rather than seem to be seen chairing court as she did.
Article 128 of the Constitution gives the Judiciary independence as it performs its duties.
Sub-section 3 of same Article 128 demands that all organs and agencies of the State shall accord to the courts such assistance as may be required to ensure their effectiveness.
One of the sources in the Judiciary, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the media, said if the members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) want their members in court, they should change the law that suits them.
Upon paying up the outstanding debt on Tuesday, Ms Nabbanja claimed there are lots of loopholes in the case that need to be fixed.
Ms Nalule had been sent to prison after failing to pay the said money in damages to Mr Godfrey Bazaale, one of her neighbours, who had won a case that had reportedly been heard one sided by court.
During Covid-19, Mr Bazaale, extended financial help to her family to a tune of Shs7m. When she failed to pay back the money, Mr Bazaale allegedly made her sign a sale agreement purporting to sell off both her plot of land and house at Shs10m at Namungoona-Kigobe Zone, which move did not please the prime minister upon learning about it.
Ms Nabbanja accused the court of not properly handling the case.
But in response, the magistrate explained that it is difficult for the court to know about the case if the parties do not attend sessions when called to defend themselves.