close
FEATUREDNEWS

“Corruption In Judiciary Is Likely To Undermine Success Of PDM” Gen. Museveni Warns!

Former CJ Bart Katurebe greets VP Alupo as CJ Dollo looks on

President Museveni has expressed worry that without functional courts, the much-billed Parish Development Model (PDM) program will be undermined.

He observed that this program which government is currently implementing as a way of liberating it’s people from the jaws of poverty, is likely to bring disputes among beneficiaries.

“Without functional courts to resolve disputes of the people that may arise from their different economic transactions, these (PDM) initiatives may be undermined” he said adding that when criminals like murderers, thieves among others are locked away, businesses thrive resulting to prosperity in communities. 

The Head of State made the remarks through the Vice President Maj. Jessica Alupo who represented him at the opening the East African Magistrates and Judges conference at Munyonyo under the theme ‘Harmonizing the best practices of judiciaries in East Africa’.

Museveni noted that in order  to enhance public trust in the judiciary, one of the priority areas in building trust is tackling corruption head-on. He said corruption undermines

public confidence not only in African judiciaries but also in the whole government system. “Corruption fosters criminality and slows down efforts to eradicate poverty” he warned.

2iC Maj. Jessica Alupo addressing the conference

The president had no kind words for lawyers some of whom are praised as being good yet they are simply crafty.

“It seems to me that the famous joke about lawyers, that: “A good lawyer is one who knows the judge, not the law” is still true today! Some so-called good lawyers are just crafty, who access Judicial officers and Court staff and influence them to favour their clients. At the end, corruption and 

negotiated justice erodes people’s trust in the judiciary and result in great injustice and suffering. This must change” he warned. 

The Ugandan leader challenged the EA judiciaries to utilize the conference to address such bottlenecks to dispensation of justice. He welcomed the theme, saying itself shows a honest admission that the EA courts need to learn from each other.

He said as EAC countries integrate economically and politically, there’s need to harmonize judicial systems so that the Judiciaries of Partner States apply common standards and best judicial practices across the region.

PUBLIC CRIES ABOUT COURT

Museveni said that he usually encounters public outcries by the wanainchi about the unfriendly workings of courts, including: unclear procedures, unpleasant 

experiences such as long adjournments, delayed judgments and corruption tendencies, among others.

VP Alupo in a group photo with dignitaries

“I have also encountered complaints about high costs of litigation, cumbersome court procedures; court summons and judgements written in foreign languages, discrimination 

against women, people with disabilities and the poor; delayed execution of court orders; and people losing cases simply because of lack of legal know

how, even when it is clear that they have a genuine claim” he revealed, adding that this is alive and kicking in many other African countries.

The president warned that such malpractices make victims lose trust in the Courts and therefore asked the participants in the conference to come up with strategies to address them.

He named three key areas where the Judiciaries in EAC 

Partner States need to apply common standards and best judicial practices including: 

Enhancing access to justice; Enhancing the efficiency and giving timely decisions; and Enhancing transparency and public trust in the Judiciary services.

Participants at the conference

“Your Lordships and Your Worships, I want to remind you that your core 

mandate is administration of justice to the people. The people you serve have entrusted you with this mandate and so as you deliberate during this 

conference, come up with best practices on how to enhance access to justice; encompassing both functional and operational” he said. 

He also noted that for African judiciaries to build trust among court users, there’s need to 

harness the use of ICT in court processes.  He said the Judiciary may win the confidence of the people by increasing its transparency and accessibility. 

“The Judiciary must therefore expedite the use of technology 

in filing of Court documents, conducting of hearings and  accessing of court files and documents. This will increase transparency, reduce the cost of  litigation and build the confidence of the people in the judiciary” he noted.

Museveni said Uganda Judiciary has already registered commendable results with the Electronic Court Case Management Information Systems (ECCMIS) which was launched on 1st March 2022. This system was launched in seven pilot courts including Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Anti-Corruption Division, Commercial Division, Land Division, Civil Division, Luwero High Court and Mengo Chief Magistrates Court. 

“ECCMIS has improved efficiency and record-keeping and has also reduced chances of physical contact between litigants and Court staff which in itself has reduced opportunities for corruption” Museveni said and praised Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo for the innovation. 

Museveni said in Uganda, government has continued to support the Judiciary towards enhancing access to justice especially to the common man.

Some of the deliberate measures taken include recruitment of more judicial officers and building more courts to ensure people access justice at short distance.

He urged participants to draw from their rich experiences and deliberate on the major bottlenecks that erode public trust in African Judiciaries. 

CJ Alphonse Owiny Dollo welcomes VP Alupo at Munyonyo

“I believe some of the bottlenecks in the administration of justice may be dealt with by the judiciaries themselves. The Government of the Republic of Uganda will render any possible support in the building of judicial confidence at national, regional, continental and international levels” He said adding that the judicial officers need to devise means of tackling considerable backlog of cases and lengthy Court procedures, which he said create a negative perception of judicial bodies in the eyes of the public. 

PRIORITY AREAS TO RESTORE PUBLIC CONFIDENCE

Museveni summed up the challenges affecting judiciary by asking them to focus on six priority areas in order to enhance public trust, guarantee legal certainty and timely justice.

These include; Strategies for reducing case backlog and lengthy Court proceedings; Relieving the Courts of cases which by their nature can be solved by imaquasi-judicial or traditional institutions; Encouraging alternative dispute settlement mechanisms; Encouraging enhanced use of ICT in court processes; Reducing opportunities for corruption and positively fighting corruption; and Simplifying Court practices and procedures and making the justice process cheaper.

ABOUT THE EAC

On 30/11/1999, Museveni together with Kenyan president Daniel Arap and that of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa, signed the EAC treaty re-establishing the regional bloc which had collapsed in 1977.

On the other hand, the East Africa Magistrates and Judges

Association provides a platform through which judicial officers from the whole of East Africa congregate, interact, learn from each other’s experiences and exchange ideas on the best ways to administer justice to the people. 

HENRY MULINDWA

The author HENRY MULINDWA

Leave a Response

error: Content is protected !!