President Yoweri Museveni has promised to work with other stake holders in Government to ensure that the number of judicial officers is increased as a way of ensuring timely justice and reducing case backlog
Speaking at State House during the swearing in of new Chief Justice and his Deputy, Museveni said he understood the need of having more judges, but noted the prioritization has to take precedent.
The president said Ugandan elite had tended to put certain things which can wait first, which has hindered development
“In order to ensure harmony, I don’t always insist because I don’t want to cause a problem. But I find a lot of mis-prioritization like creating new administration units and increasing salaries of some persons.”
“My priorities are Defence, Security then Law and order (judiciary and Police), transport (Railway and Road), Electricity, Education and then others can follow,” he said.
Museveni added that having realized that judicial officers were among the most important professions as far as the stability and country’s economy is concerned, in 1999 he ordered the increment of their salaries to 3.2 million shillings when he was earning 150,000 shillings’ salary per month as the president.
“They were the first people to get that salary. We had no money but we agreed that since we are all hungry we need people who can separate (adjudicate) us in case we get any misunderstanding.”
He said he has already discussed the limited number of judges with the Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga to find a solution.
At the swearing ceremony, Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo applauded President Museveni for the continuous support he has rendered to the judiciary and reported to him that the limited number of judicial officers has affected the speedy trial of cases which has affected the economy.
“From Kachumbala to Kaberamaido there is only one judge. The Chief Magistrate sitting at Fort Portal handle cases from six highly populated districts. How can Chief justice ensure timely disposal of files when one judge is in charge of over 5000 files?” Asked Dollo