The new Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has called for the appointment of more judicial officers to enable Ugandans to access justice.
Speaking on Tuesday after being sworn in as Chief Justice, together with his Deputy Richard Buteera at State House, Entebbe, Alfonso directly appealed to the president who was in attendance at the ceremony, to invest more manpower in the Ugandan judicial structure.
‘It pains me that from Kachumbala up to Kaberamaido we have one judge, one judge and these are areas heavily populated. How can the Chief Justice ensure that there is a speedy, timely rendering of Justice when one judge has to look after 4,000 files? My immediate appeal to you as Head of this country is that we must and immediately for something.”
He says that they are committed and ready to dispense justice which can only be achieved with the required Human resource.
“As you tour the country you will always hear about the cases delaying, taking 10 years. Take the Commercial Court, there is in a region of 2 to 3 trillion Shillings tied up in the Commercial Court of Uganda. This is the Commercial Division…I am not talking about Mbale, Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal, Kabale, Mubende, Jinja, Mukono, and Masaka. Your Excellency, you can imagine what these 2 to 3 trillion would do to the economy if they were released tomorrow,” he noted.
The Chief Justice said that the money is tied up because the Commercial Division has only 5 judges. He appealed that the Executive pays more attention to enabling Ugandans to receive timely and meaningful justice since the Judiciary is committed.
“If I have 15 judges in the Commercial Court alone, in 18 months I should be able to report progress but we don’t have that manpower. If I had the necessary personnel, these cases which take 10 years…I would give you my word that if you find your case on the 31st of December in a year, I would even drive in the night and wake up that judicial officer and question what is happening,” Owiny-Dollo assured.
He said that together with his team, they will be engaging the Executive and present their views on how best the Judiciary can serve the people of Uganda.
Owiny-Dollo is the 13th Chief Justice of Uganda since 1962 when the country got its independence. Before he was sworn-in, Owiny-Dollo was still serving as the Acting Chief Justice since 20th June when former Chief Justice Bart Katureebe retired after clocked the age of 70. Owiny-Dollo was serving as Deputy Chief Justice under Katureebe and his elevation will now make him head the Judiciary which is one of the arms of government.