Owiny-Dollo Urges Judicial Officers Against Partisan Clothes

The Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has warned judicial officers against wearing clothes that are partisan.

It is the first time that the head of the Judiciary is coming out to talk about what judges should wear under their robes

According to Owiny-Dollo, clothes colored blue, yellow, red, green, or other colors associated with political parties in the country could easily be misinterpreted by the court users that the judicial officer wearing them is partisan.

That, he said could affect the dispensation of justice or undermine the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

A fair and independent court system is essential to the administration of justice.

Owiny-Dollo was speaking on Thursday at the swearing ceremony of 86 newly appointed Grade One Magistrates. The list included one Registrar, Allen Rukundo Owembabazi as well as five Assistant Registrars.

Owiny- Dollo went ahead and told one of the judicial officers who was wearing a yellow necktie to stand up and be seen in public as an example of the colors that shouldn’t be worn to court.

He said Judicial service is self-inflicted imprisonment adding that the entrance is small but the exit door is very wide for those who do not want to uphold the core values of the Judiciary such as integrity, propriety, independence, and zero tolerance to corruption among others.

Owiny-Dollo who was glad that the number of judicial officers has now increased from 180 to 366.

He asked the Magistrates to prioritize Alternative Dispute Resolution-ADR as the fastest mechanism to resolve disputes and reduce case backlog in the justice system.

Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera on the other hand cautioned the new officer that the task ahead of them is enormous.

He encouraged them to always serve with humility without fear of favor, malice, or ill will as stipulated in the judicial code of conduct.

He said the Judiciary is ready to punish those who do ill and evil against innocent Ugandans seeking justice.

Butera who once served as the Director Public Prosecutions advised the officers to be professional, humble, accept to learn and be calm to those they supervise, administer justice with impartiality, and deliver decisions timely.

The Principal Judge Dr. Flavian Zeija said the Magistrates should exercise good customer care at their courts, keep them neat and be corruption free while exercising good morals and a high level of integrity.

He said if not, they will lose their jobs.  To emphasize his point, Zeija has alluded to one Musa Amaari Ssemogerere who had been appointed during this bact of recruitment only to lose the appointment before he would take oath as a magistrate.

Ssemogerere was allegedly caught sitting exams for a suspected girlfriend at the Law Development Centre weeks after his appointment in on June 12th 2023. He was arrested, imprisoned and blocked from being employed from the judiciary service.

Section 19 of the Judicial Service Commission Rules of 2005  indicate that the commission may advise the appointing authority on the nature of appointments to be made such as substantive, acting, contract, temporary, or probation in respect of judges, registrars, and other judicial officers.

The Assistant Registrars who have were appointed include ,  Christine Namutebi former Legal Officer at the Judicial Service Commission, Nusura Nankya who has been a State Attorney with the Law Counsel, Rania Naluyima who has been a State Attorney with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Hellen Atigo formerly employed as Senior Legal Officer at Soroti University and Kenneth Tumwebaze who has previously been an Advocate in Private Practice.

They took oath of dispensing justice to all Ugandans faithfully without fear or favor, affection or ill will. They have also taken a judicial oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

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