Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dolo has asked the Mwanga Grade One Magistrate, Amon Mugezi in Mengo to explain what transpired when they met with Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja who was following up on a case of a jailed woman.
Nabbanja met Mugezi together with other court officials and political leaders to discuss a case of Gertrude Nalule, a resident of Namungoona zone two, whose story had run on a local TV station indicating that she was a victim of a miscarriage of justice.
The story showed that Nalule has been arrested and jailed for the alleged breach of a land sale agreement she entered with her neighbor Godfrey Bazaale leaving behind her seven children unattended to. According to the report, Bazaale claimed that Nalule agreed to sell her land to him at Shillings 10 million.
He, however, claimed that after taking Shillings 7 million, Nalule declined to pick up the remaining Shillings 3 million in a bid to retain her land. Consequently, Mugezi decided in Bazaale’s favor and awarded him damages, which Nalule failed to pay. She was picked up and jailed. When Nabbanja watched Nalule’s story on Television, she decided to pay her a visit at Luzira prisons where she had spent nearly two months of the six she was sentenced to serve.
Nalule, who was widowed a year ago, said that Bazaale hadn’t come with a land sale deal but instead had lent her Shillings five million to boost her business, which failed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nabbanja called for a meeting on November 21st during, which she demanded an explanation of how the case was determined. She paid Nalule’s debt to secure her freedom from jail.
During the meeting, Mugezi explained that the court followed the facts on court records to determine the case since Nalule failed to turn up for the hearing. Nabbanja later told reporters that they had agreed to review Nalule’s case given the fact that the contested land legally belongs to her children. She explained that Nalule didn’t have a letter of administration to transact on the same land.
On Tuesday, The Judiciary’s Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Siu issued a statement addressed to all justices, judges, registrars, and magistrates at all levels reassuring them that the Chief Justice shall defend them both publicly and privately for whatever they rightly do in the dispensation of justice.
“The Hon. The Chief Justice has directed the Magistrate concerned to provide a full brief of what transpired at the court. The Chief Justice assures all judicial officers that upon receipt of the full brief, he will respond,” said the registrar.
She added that the “Chief Justice has also urged all judicial officers to continue dispensing justice in accordance with the Oath they took and not be deterred by anybody or anything that is contrary to their judicial oath.”
When asked on Monday whether her actions do not interfere with the independent operations of the Judiciary, an independent arm of the government, Nabbanja said there was no contradiction since all arms serve the people of Uganda and act upon the interests of Ugandans.