Museveni praises Dollo for steering effective Judiciary 

President Museveni  (in white shirt) with the newly appointed judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, their families, the Chief Justice (5th left) and other officials from the Judiciary look on at State House, Entebbe on Wednesday. PHOTO | PPU

What you need to know:

  • The President met Justices of the Supreme Court; Elizabeth Musoke, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Madrama Martin Izama and Justices Eva Luswata Kauma and Oscar Kihika of the Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court.

President Museveni has commended the leadership of Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, for improving the performance of the Judiciary.

He made the statement on Wednesday at State House, Entebbe during an engagement with newly appointed judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal and officials from the judiciary led by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mr Norbert Mao, the CJ and Deputy CJ Richard Buteera.

The President met Justices of the Supreme Court; Elizabeth Musoke, Stephen Musota, and Christopher Madrama Martin Izama and Justices Eva Luswata Kauma and Oscar Kihika of the Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court.

At the function, Justice Kihika took the judicial oath and oath of allegiance since he was joining the Judiciary fraternity (the Bench as it’s commonly referred to) for the very first time.

The other four justices were merely introduced to the head of State since they already took oath at their first entry into the judicial service .

The Chief Registrar, Ms Sarah Langa Siu, administered the judicial oath to Justice Kihika.

According to the press release sent out by the President’s media team, Mr Museveni said: “I really congratulate the new Judges and I want to thank the Chief Justice for the passion he has put in making the Judiciary effective.’’

The President pledged to convene a meeting of all three arms of government to collectively forge a way forward to improve performance and also look into the judiciary’s calls for increased funding.

 Chief Justice Dollo, applauded  Mr Museveni for what he called his unwavering support to better the performance of the Judiciary.

“With the enhanced budget we have been able to double the number of judicial officers,” he said.

He added that High Court circuits were created in Moroto,Tororo, Iganga, Bulemezi, Rukungiri and in Hoima.

Justice Minister Mao, agreed and said, services have tremendously improved in the Judiciary.

“We have received unprecedented support from you personally, the Executive and Parliament as manifested in the improved terms of service and improved infrastructural development,” he noted.

Drivers for improvement

Mr Mao observed that with the enhanced budget, there will be less donor dependence. The Justice Minister also used the event to announce that a new Judiciary structure is in the offing to ensure that Judges appointed have the necessary support.

With the appointment of three justices to the Supreme Court, it brings the total number to 10. The justices would have been 11, which is the current approved staffing structure but one of them, Justice Rubby Opio Aweri died, late last year.

With the new additions, the number of justices at the Court of Appeal now stands at 13 against the approved structure of  15 judges.

The government increased the budget of the Judiciary from Shs181 billion in Financial Year 2019/2020 to Shs376 billion in Financial Year 2021/2022 and raised to Shs 381.88 billion in current financial year.

Mr Owiny-Dollo last August noted that the increased funding had facilitated the implementation of the Administration of Judiciary Act, 2020, which has resulted in the recruitment of more judicial officers in the lower and upper courts and reduced case backlog.

Work force

Mr Dollo noted that there were 77 chief magistrates in 2022 up from 42 in 2021, 301 magistrates up from 186 in 2021, and 72 High Court judges from 56 the previous year.

“This is the first time the High Court attains this number. Following this recruitment, we immediately operationalized the High Court Circuits of Moroto, Tororo, Iganga, Luwero, Hoima and Rukungiri,”he said lasst year.

He added: ‘‘This will significantly improve physical access to justice for our people. For example, Soroti High Court Circuit has been handling the entire Teso and Karamoja sub-regions whereby people had to travel hundreds of kilometres.”

Mr Dollo was optimistic for better results and said the  ‘‘state of affairs will automatically improve with the operationalization of Moroto High Court Circuit.’’

He noted that the Judiciary would recruit at least 121 judicial officers, that is 10 High Court Judges, six Registrars, 13 Deputy Registrars,  eight Assistant Registrars,  13 Chief Magistrates and 71  Grade one Magistrates  in  the Financial Year 2022/ 2023 ‘‘to address enormous the demand for Judiciary services’’.                   

“It is my desire to deploy these Judges in the Commercial Court and at the Land Division and to operationalise eight more High Court Circuits at Nebbi, Bushenyi, Kasese, Kamuli, Kitgum, Lyantonde, and Apac,’’ he said.

Mr Dollo said the move ‘‘will significantly reduce case backlog and enhance access to justice services” and ‘‘would have monumental impact in our economy.’’

About CHief justice

Mr Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo  became chief justice on August 20, 2020. He replaced  Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe who had clocked the manadatory retirement age of  70 years.

He had previously served as the Deputy Chief Justice from September 2017 and was appointed a High Court Judge shortly after representing President Museveni in the  2006 presidential election petition filed by Dr Kizza Besigye, an opposition candidate. He was the Agago County Member of Parliament from 1996 to 2001.